Onyeka Onwenu: Fela wanted to marry me but …

Onyeka Onwenu

Veteran singer and actor, Onyeka Onwenu, has revealed that the late Afrobeat music legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti approached her for marriage in the eighties. She however turned down his proposal during her visit to his club, ‘Kalakuta Republic’, because she was a possessive lover and did not want to be part of his harem

Narrating how Fela proposed to her, Onyeka said, it was shortly after she had just returned from the United States. 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.

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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 the maestro had a different motive. He never even mentioned the article she wrote but instead asked her to marry him. Onyeka said she was flattered, thanked him for the honor 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. When she pointed this out to him and told him that she couldn’t possibly join his harem because she was a possessive lover and would not be able to cope as an appendage, Fela laughed at her.

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

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