Being Fela’s daughter cost me lots of friends – Yeni Kuti opens up

by Anike Jacobs


The first child of late Afrobeat maestro Fela Anikulapo-Kuti and manager of his estate, including the Africa Shrine has opened up on how being the legend’s daughter cost her lots of friends in her childhood.

In an interview with Daily Trust, the single mum of one claimed parents warned their children to stay away from her for being Fela’s daughter.

See excerpts below:

Has your dad’s legacy paved the way for you in life?

Earlier on in life, being Fela’s daughter was difficult; people just associated his name with bad things. They did not see positive things. Parents did not want their children being friends with us and so on. Now that he is gone, Nigerians now know what they have lost, so it is a totally different ball game. I must say here, good or bad, I am proud of whom I am and to be a daughter of Fela, one of Africa’s, if not the worlds’ greatest minds.

As a dancer back then, were there times you wanted to quit?
Looking back, I guess so. The thought crossed my mind at times when we had really difficult tours, back-to-back shows and no rest. Losing weight, hungry, tired, I just felt, oh gosh, I can’t take this anymore, I am exhausted. So there were situations like that, yes, but I am glad that despite all that, I stayed till the end.

You have been celebrating Felabration for years. How has it been?   
It has been holding every year since Fela died. Last year’s theme was: ‘The Legends:’ Who no know, go know;’ which is a title song of one of Fela’s tracks. The annual celebration of the legacy of the afro-beat icon, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, keeps gathering momentum. The Felabration event has become a melting pot for all lovers of Fela’s music and ideology. We have not reached the peak of Felabration but we are getting their fast.

Is your daughter hoping to join the family business anytime soon?  
My daughter is 26 and is a Computer Science graduate. She has worked for many years and doesn’t do music. So I don’t know if she is thinking of joining the family business anytime soon.

What is the most cherished moment you recall of your dad?  
Too many to name one. But I sure miss him. Being with him was always a cherished moment.

At 54 years old, you still look amazing. What is the secret?  
Diaris God o!  I just try to be happy. Happiness eases stress. When you are happy it radiates in every other aspect of your life.

Is there a chance for marriage for you?  
I am in a very happy relationship.

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