I'm In Love


Fela’s first daughter, Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti will be 50 years old on 24 May. She spoke with P.M.Entertainment about her life, new found love, the Kuti family and other issues


Y. K., you will be 50 years old on 24 May, how do you feel?

I feel 50.

Are you sure?

I say I feel 50. Do you want me to say something more than that? Okay, I am happy that I have attained the golden age.

Do you feel 50 within you or what?

Do you know one funny thing? When one is between 15 and 25 years of age and somebody says he is 50, you will look at that person as old. I am now at that level and young people will look at that and say so she is 50? I now feel what our parents felt when they turned 50. We thought they were so old at 50.

What are your plans for the golden age?

We are going to throw a party, very big one, at the Shrine and maybe another exclusive one by someone special.


I don’t know.

Are you throwing a sort of o wa mbe party?

Does that mean I am so old? No, we are throwing a disco party.

Aso ebi inclusive?

Yes, there will be aso ebi and that is at the instance of the Shrine people who want to celebrate with me.

Which other activities are you planning for the occasion?

People will come, eat, drink and party and nothing more or are you talking about the party or my life?

Are the Shrine people holding the party for you?

No, I am the one hosting the people at the Shrine. But the party outside there is by other people.

Is he your boyfriend?

When you see him, ask, but the one at the Shrine is by me. In fact, the Shrine will be transformed on that day.

Is the party a champagne party?

Well, it is my 50th, so I have to celebrate and spend the money.

Are you wearing a special attire on that day?

I have always been a fashion freak. So, no need for special attire.

At 43 you stopped dancing on Femi’s stage, what is your resolution at 50?

To get rich! That is the major decision. I want to make it at 50 and that is the major decision I have taken because I can’t afford to be poor at 50.

What have been the ups and downs before now?

I don’t want to think of the ups and downs. I want to dwell on the birth of my child, building the Shrine, being on tour with the Positive Force Band, that is Femi’s band. Well, downs… the loss of my sister, mother, dad and some other things I don’t want to dwell on.

Any regrets at 50?

No! I don’t dwell on regrets either, there is nobody who doesn’t have regrets, but I want to be who I am, a happy person, money or no money.

What has been the secret behind your keeping the Kuti family together?

I don’t believe that the Creator can create anything He cannot control. Even those challenges, I don’t regard them as challenges because I just look at them as if God has given you what you cannot deal with in life. If something comes your way and even if you look at it as an obstacle but God says you can handle it, that is the secret. It is God’s doing.

But you can’t tell me that there was no crisis between you people, that is Seun, Kunle and others?

It is God’s doing and the spirit of Fela is still with us. I have been relating with all my siblings. I love them all and they know that.

What did you do?

I don’t know, but I know that things just fell into place. With God, all things are possible.

At 50, you have only one daughter, why?

I am happy that I have a daughter; there are some people who don’t have any. In fact, it was by choice that I have one daughter because I don’t want to have children all over the place. You know that I was no more with Rolavi’s father and I don’t want to have children from different men. I don’t think there is any talent having so many children but by bringing them up. I am happy my daughter is now a graduate, working and one that will give me grandchildren, at least about three.

At 50, do you want to remain single?

Do you think I can have children at 50 or will you advise me to start taking a child to school at 50? Won’t his/her friends ask that child if I am the grandmother? It is not advisable for a 50-year old woman to have a child. Some will do, but I will not, I am not that kind of a person.

But you have a relationship?

Yes, I know that you know about it, but we don’t talk about our private life.

But you have a boyfriend and what happens if he proposes marriage?

I am not saying that I won’t get married again, but I said I can’t have a child any more. So, let’s leave it like that.

But what is the essence of a relationship without a kid?

We are very happy. He has just called me.

Then how did you find love again after a long time?

Please, leave me alone. Well, I like what you are putting on.

Fela was celebrated at the New Afrika Shrine, how did you feel?

I was very happy about it. My only regret is that my father was not alive to be part of it. I am very happy that Fela! On the Broadway came to the Shrine and I thank for your support, especially P.M.NEWS and TheNEWS.

What other plans do you have for now?

There will be Felabration this year, that is from 10 to 16 October.

What are your major plans for Felabration?

We are still speaking with sponsors and hope that foreign and Nigerian artistes will perform.

Any plan to invite the Fela on Broadway crew?

We don’t have that kind of money but the sponsors of the show promised to bring them to Nigeria and if not this year, it may be next year.

What was the stake of Fela’s family in the Broadway show?

We gave them the licence to perform and they paid us royalty.

How much?

No comment.

If they eventually come, will they take it round Nigeria?

I don’t know, but I know that they want to take the show round Africa and back to Lagos.

What are your challenges being in charge of the Shrine as a woman?

None really, I don’t think that God will give you what you can’t cope with.

Are you a tomboy?

No, but growing up and having Fela as a father gave the experience of dealing with a lot of people and I am not intimidated being a woman.

What did growing up with Fela teach you?

It has made me to be African and realise that I am a black woman and I am proud of my colour.

Does it have a negative impact on your life?

No, even if it has, I don’t dwell on negativity.

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