Fela Was A Role Model, But A Bad Father — Yeni Kuti

The late musician, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, was not a decent father, according to Yeni Kuti, the afrobeat pioneer’s daughter.

In a recent interview with media personality Chude Jideonwo, Yeni said she and her siblings were verbally abused by their father.

In the interview, Yeni mentioned that while his first son, Femi, did approach her father about how he treated him, she never had the confidence to do so.

She said that because of this, the two were constantly at odds.

She said: “He (Fela) was not quite a good father. No, I never told him that he isn’t a good father. Maybe Femi, not me. Femi and Fela used to have battles, and Femi will give it to him straight.

“Shola and I, we were like timid. You know, they say, ‘When two elephants are fighting, the grass will keep quiet’.

“I can remember one day, Fela just came and said, ‘Three of you are useless children’. Femi just said, ‘For what?’ Femi just started facing him and then they started facing each other. Shola and I will say, ‘It’s okay’.
Fela will say, ‘No’. And Femi just said, ‘Let him go.’

“I don’t think I have ever had that kind of confrontation with my father. Maybe because I am a woman,” she remarked.

Yeni also described her father’s final days, emphasising how powerful he was while being ill. According to her, Fela was only taken to the hospital after giving his permission.

When asked if her father, Fela, died happy, Yeni replied that she doesn’t think he did because he was very unwell in his final days and the political climate in the nation at the time also contributed to his unhappiness.

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