Fela Kuti Family Wahala (From QueenOlofofo archives)

Fela Kuti Family Wahala (From QueenOlofofo archives)

Fela Kuti Family
The feud in Fela's family-As the Prime People reported the stry in March 89

  • The inside story about the feud in Fela Kuti family.
  • Insight into the disharmony between Fela and his kids/children

I am starting a new segment on QueenOlofofo Blog.It will be called The Queen's achive.Basically what it is,is stories from back in the days being revisited and printed in their entirety.Some of you will go down memory lane ,while some of you will discover new historical facts along the way,be it arts,politics,entertainment,sports or just everyday people.
Fittingly the 1st edition is about the Chief Priest himself.The Abami Eda and probably the greatest icon and enigma Africa has ever seen,Fela Anikulapo.
Famous people are human too.They have problems just as we do.They laugh and cry and they have family problems too.This write up was from the Prime People Magazine,published in Nigeria and edition March-10-16 1989
The feud in Fela's family between children and wife on one side and Fela himself on the other-still rages on.The cause of the feud is Fela's life style,which contrary to expectations,sources say has not mellowed with age.

Fela's children,Femi,Yeni and Shola-wince at their father's lifestyle,while Fela hollered,"i should be accepted in totality as their father"!
Femi misses fatherly advice but rarely approaches Fela.And Fela is not ready to give unsolicited pep talk.
"I would have liked it if Fela can produce my album because he's the only person that really understands afro beat" Femi confided."I can't go to his house and tell him,but if he comes by himself it would be great,He doesn't come to our house in Shomolu,Lagos and i don't see any reason why i should visit him"

"How can i just walk into a studio and start doing something i wasn't informed about?i am not a magician so there is no way i could have known he was already recording.If he Femi wants me to be there ,he should come here and tell me.They have a beetle and i have no car,so he's free to come anytime.If i had a car it would have been a different thing Fela told close pals.

"He didn't tell me anything about an album,i just read in the papers that he signed a contract with Polygram.The tems of the contract i don' even know.So how can he expect me to know what is happening to him without telling me?"
He said i should come all by myself to produce the album-what if someone else was producing it?I don't have any right to interfere in someone else's production.Won ti nsiere ni ile won yen(They are all crazy in that house of theirs)

Femi's album No cause for alarm is not the cause of the feud of the Anikulapo-Kuti's."I can never forgive Fela because of what he did when i was younger"Femi told close associates-"When i approached Fela that i wanted to be a musician,he bought me a saxophone,and that was all.He only told Baba Ani(Lekan Animashaun,Fela's pal of more than 25 years and band leader)to teach me how to play.After only a few weeks,no more lessons.I had to learn everything on my own
Fela didn't send me to any music school but he could afford it.I would have been a better musician if i had gone to a music school,when i was about 6 years old ,he bought me a trumpet and no one showed me how to play it.
Insiders said the carefree attitude of Fela regarding the children's career is the crux of the feud in Fela's family on the part of the kids..

When Yeni told Fela she wanted to become a ballet dancer,Fela promised to send her to a school in Russia said another source."He kept reneging on his promise until Yeni got tired and forgot about the idea
"Fela bought a saxophone for Shola when she dropped out of school" continued the source.He later made her learn herbal medicine which she abandoned after only a few months. Fela didn't care about his children's education and you can see for yourself that all of them barely finished secondary school.

It was like he encouraged them to drop out of school.Whenever the children complained about school or teachers,Fela supported them."There was a time he gave one of the daughters money after following her to school to hear the teachers complaint about her rudeness"
For years now the children have stayed with their mother because Fela's family couldn't stand their fathers life style.
"Fela used to be a very nice person"Shola confessed to a friend..."but he has changed,he has been influenced by those around him who are only out to destroy him"
Fela kuti family story
Fela ,Yeni and Femi Anikulapo Kuti all part of the feud in Fela's family.

"All those around him are only interested in their own pockets"
Femi said to another source "he has too many dependants who have nothing to contribute to his music"
According to insiders,the children complained about the bizarre things that went on in Fela's house which eventually made the kids leave him. They complained that they couldn't stand their Fela's sexual escapades.Fela seems to be obsessed with sex and he didn't care who he slept with.Many underage girls just loitered around the house. "The most painful thing however is the "marriage" of Femi and Sewa,one of Fela's dancers considered as the spiritual head.How could Fela allow such a thing?they complained.Sewa was one of Fela's 27 wives,and he allowed Femi to "marry"her.

"Yeni was bitter about the whole thing cos Femi was so young then.The woman was reported to have dreamt of seeing a vision that she should"marry" Femi and she did,Femi and his bride later shared a room,but Femi realised his mistake later and had since turned his back on her."Sewa is still waiting for him"                                                                                                                                                                                       The relationship between Fela and his family is so stiff that an outsider notices immediately
"That bond amongst blood relations is hardly felt when you are around the Anikulapo-Kuti's."another observer maintained.
"Last year during Fela's 50th birthday celebration at Prince's Nite club,Fela and his children only put up fronts.When Fela entered the club,it took the kids several minutes to get up and say hi to Fela,and immediately they greeted him after pleasantries they left him.

"You would have thought his followers were his family",said the source.
The last time all the three children sat together was at the naming ceremony of Yeni's daughter in August last year. "Fela was however cheerful at the occasion,though he missed the formal naming ceremony by ten minutes," someone who attended the naming ceremony claimed. "It appeared as if Fela didn't have any choice but to attend.Femi went with a driver to pick Fela at his Ikeja residence for the ceremony".

Remi Anikulapo-Kuti Fela first wife seems to be the worst hit by the transformation of the man she married in London about 30 years ago.From an adorable husband the man changed and she had no choice but to move out of Fela's house.

"I don't want to talk to the press about anything "she once told Prime People."When the time is right i will talk and everyone will know the whole truth"
It looks the time is quite near,for the mother of three children is working on a tell all book about her relationship with Fela,the maverick multi-instrumentalist, "I am still working on the book ,but i dont know when it would be ready.Right now i don't have a type writer and that is delaying the book."

The duel is not restricted to Fela's immediate family alone.His younger brother,Dr Beko Ransome Kuti,is said to be in the bad books of Fela's children. The relationship between the Anikulapo siblings and the medical doctor tyrned sour when Fela was in jail.

"Femi was innitially accused of not doing anything about getting Fela out of jail by Beko,"said a confidant.
"And Femi didn't like it.The thing got out of hand and Femi had to compose a song "so so talk No action"-to reply Beko in addition to writing inside newspapers.Femi was mad at his uncle.

But actually the palaver started during Fela's trials,Femi and Beko disagreed on what should be said during the trials,and since then there has been no fence-mending.
When Fela was jailed Beko thought Femi enjoyed the idea of his father being in prison so that he could lead Fela's band.
"There were several wranglings between the two and Femi got sacked a few times. Femi only held on to keep his father's name going or else he would have quit the band long before Fela got released.

"Again Fela's children are annoyed because of Beko's stand on a quarrel between one of the daughter's and Fela's PRO.
The chap slapped one of them and the matter was treated lightly.Can Uncle Beko allow the chap to slap Nike(Beko's lawyer daughter who finished at Unilag) like that and fail to do something?" the source asked in annoyance.
 Femi,Yeni and Shola were reported to be so incensed that they banished Beko from attending Yeni's wedding last year!
"The venue of the wedding reception had to be shifted from brother Koye's residence to Awolowo way Ikeja because Fela's kids insisted that Beko must not attend,and he didn't.
"Brother Koye didn't want to take sides so he had to maintain that the reception could only hold in his house if Beko was allowed to come.The health minister couldn't persuade Fela's kids.
As for Fela no one seems to be convinced about his explanation for missing his daughter's wedding.

In spite of his children's complaint,Fela is unmoved and has no plans to change his life style "they(Fela's family and kids) go about saying all sorts of things about me but i am not moved.They said i smoke hemp,that i made a mistake by sending Shola to learn herbal medicine,but i know what i am doing.I Fela,am their father and they should accept me in totality.Whether or not i am a hemp smoker,the fact still remains that i am their father"
Published by Prime People ,March 10-16,1989

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