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‘Fela wanted to add me to his harem but I turned him down’ – Onyeka Onwenu reveals


Veteran singer, Onyeka Onwenu has revealed that the late music legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti approached her for marriage in the eighties. She however turned down his proposal during her visit to his club because of his other wives being a possessive lover.

Narrating how Fela proposed marriage to her, Onyeka said, it was shortly after she had just returned from the United State. She had written an article in solidarity with him while he was in jail. He was arrested for attempting to travel with his band for a gig in London with the sum of 1,600 pounds for their hotel accommodation. At the time, carrying any amount of foreign currency was against one of the many decrees promulgated by the Buhari/Idiagbon military junta.

After his release from prison in 1984, Fela sent a mutual friend, a journalist, Onuorah Udenwa who is now a US-based pastor, to bring Onwenu to his club. According to her, she thought he just wanted to thank her for speaking up for him, but that was not it. He never even mentioned the article she wrote but instead asked her to marry him. Onyeka said she was flattered. She thanked him for the honour but turned him down all the same.

The elegant stallion as she is fondly called, recalled noticing some of Fela’s wives who were dancers, looking at her with scorn and whispering behind her, while she waited at the club to see him and when she pointed this out to him and told him that that she couldn’t possibly join his harem because she is a possessive lover and would not be able to cope as an appendage, Fela laughed at her.

She said he he seemed to enjoy the idea that the women were ‘fighting’ to keep his affection, adding that he however did not persist with the marriage proposal.

This and many more she revealed in her new autobiography, titled ‘My Father’s Daughter.’

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