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Saturday, February 27, 2016

Zahra stole my heart but my parents are against her (3)

 I had enquired after Zahra on my return home from my mother when she dropped the bombshell.

 "My dear," said my mother, "That girl had us fooled. We thought she was a good girl but it was all pretence. Do you know she was running around with different men in town and she ended up pregnant for one of them?"

 "What? Pregnant? Zahra?" To say I was shocked was putting it mildly.
 My mum nodded.

  "She told us the man raped her but it was a lie. Anyway, I had no option but to throw her out! There was no way she could remain here with that kind of loose behaviour! 

 "Your sister Lara is still very young and I don't want a girl like that who could be a bad influence on her, in our home."

 It took time for what my mother told me to sink in. Zahra pregnant? I could not believe it. 

 The Zahra I knew did not seem like a wayward girl. 

 Though she could be stubborn, even headstrong at times, she had always been well-behaved so how could this have happened? How could she have changed so much in the few years I had been away?

 "So, where's she now?" I enquired.
 My mother said: "I instructed the driver to drop her at her father's place at Ojo. Honestly, your father and I are really disappointed in her. I took her like my own daughter and see the way she paid us back for all we did for her! 

 We were even planning to set her up when she finished her training at the fashion design school. Now, see how she ended up! It's very unfortunate."

 Indeed, it was. I felt really bad at what had happened to Zahra. This was a girl really close to my heart so how could this have happened? Why now? I was disappointed and sad all at once, feeling a sense of lose, of despondency.

 Soon after my arrival, I started work in one of my father's companies. I tried to forget about Zahra but it was just impossible. I found myself thinking about her most of the time.

  Searching for Zahra
I had been in the country about three months when I decided to look for her. I had to see how she was doing, that she was ok. I wondered how she was coping with her situation. Being an unwed mother in our strait-laced society is no joke as most are seen as irresponsible and loose and often treated with scorn.

 I got her home address from one of the maids and one Saturday, I set out for the place. It was on the outskirts of the city, off the ever busy Lagos-Badagry expressway.

 She was not home but I met her father and stepmother. Zahra, he said, had gone to work and would be back in the evening. We sat on some plastic chairs on the verandah of the house, watching some children playing football in the courtyard.

 Zahra's father explained she had started work at a restaurant at Agboju, near Festac, after she had the baby, a boy, five months before.

 Her stepmum, a middle aged, plump looking woman, was feeding the baby when I entered the living room. He was a cute little boy with Zahra's features. I played with him for a while till Zahra returned after four o'clock.

 She looked surprised to see me and happy as well. 

  I studied her, noting she had not changed physically that much. She had put on a little weight, though, maybe because of the baby; but this only added an extra glow and radiance to her looks which made her look even more lovely. Motherhood seem to suit her.

 "When did you return to Nigeria?" she asked. 
  "Few months back. Only to hear you had left the house," I said.
 She was silent for a while, staring blankly at her feet.

 "I don't know what your parents have told you. But, truth is, what happened was not totally my fault. It was someone I stupidly trusted that caused all this."

 She then narrated the sordid story of what really happened, about a guy called Paddy, who had been bugging her for a relationship but whom she turned down severally.

 "Paddy worked in an office near my school and every day, on my way home after school, he would come begging me to be his girlfriend, that he loved me so much, he couldn't live without me.
 "I told him I was not interested in a relationship then, that I wanted to finish school first before thinking about such things."

  Zahra stated that the guy kept on pestering her and even enlisted the help of her friend Helen to plead his cause.

 "One day, I went to Helen's place to borrow a fashion magazine I needed for an assignment in school. She offered me a bottle of soft drink which unknown to me had been drugged.
 I became unconscious after drinking it and it was then that Peter came in and raped me. They both planned it.
 "I thought Helen was my friend but she turned out to be worse than an enemy," Zahra said sadly.

 Some months later, she added, on finding out she was pregnant, she informed Peter about it.
 "But he denied having anything to do with the pregnancy, that I should take it to the other men I had been sleeping with. It was to avoid responsibility because he knew I was not seeing anyone at that time."

My father wanted to take up the matter with the police but you know the stigma attached to rape victims in our society so we let it go. I thought about abortion but my father would not hear about it so I had the baby," she explained.

 Then in an entreating tone, she said: "That was what really happened Brother Archie. We've known each other since we were children. I would not lie to you. It's the truth."

 As I drove home, I kept thinking about what she had said. In all the years I had known Zahra, I never knew her to be a liar. It was not just her way. 

 So, I believed her story. 

 She was just a poor victim of circumstances.
 It was based on that and the love I still harboured for her deep in my heart despite all that had happened to her, that I decided to do something about her situation.

 Together again
On my next visit about two weeks later, I told her she should return to school to complete her training, that I was ready to take care of the expenses.

 On hearing that, she jumped up excitedly from her seat, rushed up to me and hugged me.

 "Thank you, Brother Archie! You don't know what this means to me!" Then to my surprise, she burst into tears. I held her close and comforted her. She felt soft and warm and a thrill went through me as I held her in my arms.

 We were alone in the house as the rest of the family had gone out. The baby was sleeping in its cot in a corner of the room.
 Later, after she had calmed down, she disclosed that she had had been thinking about returning to school but money was an issue.

 Her father had no job due to an accident he sustained in his hand at the factory he used to work. "He has been unable to get another job since then. The family depends on the money my younger brother Baro makes from his job at the Ports and my step-Mum's petty trading business. That's the reason I had to get a job to help out after I had the baby."

 After that, Zahra and I began seeing more regularly. I knew I should not be seeing her too often because of the way I felt about her.

 But like a magnet, I kept being drawn to her and could not stay away. 

 It wasn't as if I did not have any one in my life. I had a girlfriend, Ronnie. She was someone I had known for some years and had been dating since my return to Nigeria.

 My parents knew and liked her and had even tacitly approved of her as a future partner for me.

 "She seems a nice girl from a good family. She'll make a good wife for you," said my mother one evening. I had just returned from a visit to Zahra. 

 "Ah, Mum! I'm not ready for marriage yet," I protested.
 "Why not?" she countered. "The earlier you settle down, the better. At least then, you'll stop running around town with all these Lagos girls!"

 "Mum, that's not true!"
  But she was not convinced.

 "I'm your mother and I can read you like a book. You are hardly at home most weekends and don't tell me you're with Ronnie because she comes here to look for you when you are not around. So, where do you often disappear to?"
 I left the room as she grumbled about 'young men of today who never want to marry but loved to play around...'

 I wondered if she knew I had been seeing Zahra all the while. I had not told her about visiting Zahra as I knew she would not approve because of the circumstances under which she left the house.

 I kept up with the visits, though. Due to the terrible traffic jams on the highway to her place, I had to make alternative arrangements for our meetings.

 My cousin Flo, who lived in a large apartment in Surulere agreed I could be meeting Zahra there, when I told her about the situation.

 At first, we would just chat, watch movies or play video games which she loved a lot.
 Then, one rainy evening some weeks later, Flo had gone out and Zahra and I were alone in the flat. 
 She was in the kitchen preparing dinner. I went to see how she was getting on.

 I stood by the kitchen door and watched unobserved, as she busied herself at the stove. Then as if propelled by unseen hands, I walked up to her and held her by the waist. I slowly turned her round and ignored the startled expression in her eyes as I lowered my head and my lips sought hers...

 Claiming Zahra
I kissed her luscious lips, drawing deeply from her sweetness. She didn't move for a while, then with her hands against my chest, she gently slipped out of my grasp.

 She looked up at me in amazement then exclaimed.
 "Brother Archie! Why did you do that?"

 "I'm sorry, Zahra. I guess I got carried away." I wasn't sorry though. It was something I had wanted to do for a long time, hold her close to me and love her like a man.

 "We can't do such things. We are..."

 "Not related!" I quickly said, feeling it was time to clear up a few things.
 "I know. But..."

 "What, Zahra? Look, we need to talk," I said firmly and taking her hand, led her to the living room.

 We talked for sometime at the end of which she became fully aware of the way I felt about her, that I was in love with her.

 "I tried controlling my feelings for you but it's been difficult. I know this must come as a surprise to you but that's just the way I feel."
 I was the one who got a surprise.
 "Actually, it wasn't really a surprise," she stated with a light gleam in her eyes.

 Before I could speak, she continued:

 "I've suspected for sometime. I'm a woman, remember. We feel such things. Besides, my step-mum had mentioned it some time ago but I had not taken her words seriously."

 "What did she say?" I asked, looking intently at her.

 "She said you were acting more like a boyfriend towards me than a brother- that you must be in love with me.!"
 I laughed.
"She wasn't wrong then. I really love you, Zahra," I said. "Because of your past experience, I know you might find it difficult loving anyone now, but please create a little space in your heart for me, to love me a little."

 "I already love you," she said, smiling coolly at me.
 "Like a man? Not like a brother?"
 She nodded.

 "My darling!" I said happily, holding her close to me. I was kissing her again and this time, she responded, igniting my passion for her.

 Just then, the front door opened and my cousin bustled in, carrying several shopping bags.

 "And what are you two lovebirds up to now?" she queried, dropping the bags on the rug.
 "Whatever it is, don't do it on my sofa. You guys should get a room!"

 "Why do you always barge in at the wrong moment, Flo?" I said grumpily.
 "Because you're always up to no good!" she retorted.

 I laughed again
 "Welcome Aunty Flo," Zahra greeted, getting up to pick the bags from the floor.
 "Thanks, Zahra," she said. She kicked off her high heeled shoes and collapsed on a chair.

 "My feet are killing me," she said, wriggling her toes.
 Then she sat up and sniffed the air.

 "What's that smell?" she asked.

 "Did you leave anything on the cooker?" she asked Zahra who was taking the bags to her room.
"Oh, my God! The rice!" she exclaimed, dropping the bags and running towards the kitchen.

 "You people should not burn this house down with all this love game you're playing here o!" she said crossly. But I could detect a little smile playing around her lips.

 After we had eaten, I reluctantly left for home. 
 "I'll miss you," I said, holding her to me as she came to see me off to my car.

 "Its just two days we'll be apart," she pointed out. 
 "Yes. But it will be like a year. Now that I've found you, I never want us to be apart," I said, caressing her face.

 She laughed.

 "You better start going. It's getting late."
 I got in and started the car.
 "I love you, Zahra," I said, holding her hand through the car window. "Will call you when I get home." As I drove off, I watched her from the side mirror as she stood waving and smiling at me...

To be continued...

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Zahra stole my heart but my parents are against her (2)

...Dave must have noticed the way I was staring at her. 

 For he said a couple of days after our arrival, after seeing the other girls that worked around the house: "These girls that work here are really pretty. Are they just maids or part time models? That one, what's her name again," he said, gesturing towards Zahra who was dishing out some food in the kitchen for us, "can win Miss Nigeria contest any day."

 "Her name's Zahra and she's not a maid. She's my Mum's P.A. She also helps around the house occasionally."
 And stay away from her and the others if you don't want trouble with my mother. She doesn't like anyone messing around with her girls," I warned him.

 He raised his hands in a placating manner.

 "Hey! Take it easy. I was just kidding! But, guy, these girls are hot!" 

 "Dave!" I said, giving him a warning look.
 "Alright, alright! I'm off the club. Coming?"
  That night, I could not fall asleep for a long time. My thoughts were all full of one thing: Zahra. 
 I could not get over how different she looked. Where was that little girl with a perpetually runny nose that used to run around the house and play with me in the garden of our home?

 All grown up, a little voice said. How true, I thought, thinking of her full, well-rounded figure. But I shouldn't be thinking of her in the manner, I thought again. We virtually grew up together and she was like my own sister though we were not born of the same parents.

 How could I think of her as I would a lover? But though I tried, I could not erase that image from my mind.

 I turned to the small alarm clock by my bedside. It was past 1 am. and Dave was not back from the club. He had gone alone as I wanted to stay home and spend some time with my parents.

 Where could that bad boy be? I thought, stretching out fully on the bed.
  I must have slept off for I was woken by loud moans some time later. It sounded like someone in pain or in ecstasy.

 I sat up and listened. The sounds seemed to be coming from Dave's room which was next to mine and they grew louder as I walked down there to find out what was going on. Did Dave return home with a girl? Who was she? One of my Mum's maids?

 Or was it Zahra?

 The thought of my randy friend with Zahra prodded me on and I burst into the room. I switched on the light and there, before my horrified eyes was the sight of Dave and Zahra making, hot steamy love, their loud moans punctuating the still, night air.

"Dave!" I cried. "What's going on here?"
I was so mad at him, I could have hit him then and there. Not with my Zahra, I thought angrily. Any other girl but her.

 Dave rolled onto his side, a bemused look on his face. I ignored him and glanced at the girl who was struggling to cover her nakedness with a blanket.

 It was then my fast beating heart slowed down and I could breathe again. It was a strange girl I had never seen before but who resembled Zahra. The long braids she wore looked identical to the style I had seen on Zahra. I guess that was what got me confused.

 "Sorry," I said and quietly left the room.

 I was doing my daily push ups the following morning when Dave entered my room. 

 He looked tired.
 "Men, I need some sleep," he said, flopping on my bed. I continued with my workout. 

 "But Archie, why did you burst into the room like that when you knew I had company?" Dave asked sharply.

 "I didn't know. I was asleep when you got back."

 I sat up and wiped my face and neck with a small towel.
 "Who was the girl anyway?" I asked.

 He shrugged. "Nobody special. Just someone I met at the club," he replied.
  "I thought it was one of my Mum's girls."
 "Ha, Archie! Don't you trust me ? How could I do such a thing, sleep with your maid?"

 "Trust you? I wouldn't trust you with an 80 year old grandma!" I countered.
 He laughed.

 Then giving me a sly look, he said: "Did you think it was just one of the maids or your precious Zahra?"
 "What do you mean?" I asked.
 "I see the way you look at her. You can't deny you like her," he said.
 "Yes, I like her. As a sister," I told him.

  "Sister my skinny ass! The last time I checked, you too were not bearing the same surname!"

   I pointed a finger at him.
 "You know your problem. You have a dirty mind."
 He nodded.

 "I know. And a hungry stomach. My tummy's rumbling. Call one of the maids to get us some breakfast."
 "Call them yourself, idiot," I said, going into the bathroom to take a shower.

  Shocking news
Soon, the vacation was over and I had to return abroad to do my Masters. That took over a year and after the programme, I stayed back in London to work. It was my father's idea, stating that I needed the experience and international exposure to enable me manage the family business whenever I returned home. 

 After working for about two years in different organisations including an investment bank, I finally returned home. I had missed home and could not wait to see Zahra again. 

 We had kept in touch though I had not heard from her for sometime. With time, I had to admit that my feelings for her were no longer of the brotherly type. That I had in fact grown to love her as a man would love a woman.

 It was on my return to Nigeria that I heard the most shocking news about Zahra...

 What happened to Zahra? Log in tomorrow evening for the details.

 Have a nice weekend, everyone!
To be continued...
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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Zahra stole my heart but my parents are against her (1)

Zahra and I grew up together. We were in fact childhood playmates whom circumstances brought together.
It happened like this. About a year after I was born (so I was told), my mother became so ill that she could no longer take care of me. 

My father, unable to cope with a very sick wife and a baby, decided to get a nanny to look after me.

That was how Nana, as I called her, came into our household. A caring woman, she became like a second mother to me.

I was an only child for a long time as my mother was unable to have another baby maybe due to her poor health. The only playmate I had was Nana's daughter, Zahra. As kids, Zahra and I were always together, playing games, climbing trees and other pastimes of the young.

We only got separated when we began school. While I attended a private school, Zahra went to a public school not far from our home.

After my secondary school education, my father decided I should further my education outside the country. My mother, who did not like me going so far away from home, was against the idea.

But my Dad insisted so I went. Two years after I left Nigeria, my beloved Nana died. I was devastated by her death as I loved her so much and she had become like a member of the family.

My parents, who thought very highly of her, had retained her as a staff, even after my younger sister Lara, born six years after me, (who she had also cared for) had grown up.

Zahra remained with my family after her mother's death. My mother decided to keep her as a domestic staff and personal assistant: she also attended a fashion design school as her ambition was to be a fashion designer.

Back to Naija
I didn't see Zahra for some years while I was at school though I always enquired after her whenever I called home and when my parents came to visit me in school.

I finally graduated and returned to Nigeria. I had plans to do a Masters degree later but I needed a holiday and break from studies first.

I was accompanied by Dave, a friend and school mate who had been living abroad for a long time and wanted to be home again.

It was a sweet homecoming. I was glad to be home, to the familiar sights and sounds- my family, Mum, Lara, my baby sister and all the other members of our household and my friends.

Not much had changed and everything looked the same. No, that was not quite true, certain things had changed.

  Zahra. Zahra was different.

The skinny, tomboyish teenager I had left some years earlier had blossomed into a young woman. And a very beautiful one at that. Her eyes, large and soulful stared at one calmly from a smooth face with full, sensual lips. 

The fitted pink top on a pair of jeans she wore on the day of our arrival accentuated her voluptuous figure. The change in her was amazing and I could not keep my eyes off her...

To be continued...

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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

I don't believe in marriage (1)

  • 'I've had so many heart breaks because I was my father's son' Femi Kuti
Femi Kuti, first son of the late Afro beat King, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has come of age as a respected musician/songwriter and composer, many years after he cut his musical teeth playing on stage with his father as a young boy.
In this interview at The Shrine, Ikeja, Lagos, he bares his mind on life as Fela's son, the challenges he has faced in his career, coping with bad press, views on marriage, joy of fatherhood, the Nigerian music scene and other issues. Excerpts:

How will you say that your background has influenced the person that you are today
It has most definitely shaped a lot of things in me
What memories do you recall of your early beginnings?
What part are you talking about?
Your early childhood, things that you recall that now influence the person that you are today
I have a lot of memories about my father so that has definitely shaped my career and what I am doing now.

Who will you say influenced you most your mum or your dad?
It is hard to say. I am very much like my mother, I like my privacy. But then my father was always in the limelight, and his music, his political views. But I will say 50-50, I will not say one has more influence over me. People don’t know my mother but I have a lot of my mother in me.

Was your mum a quiet woman and how much of her did you see?

I saw her probably every day, I lived with her for a very long time. I grew up with her, and so I do have a lot of my mother in me.
 Was your mother a music-loving person too, did she play any instrument, what kind of person was she?
She studied a bit of piano but nothing too serious. But in our family our father was a trombonist, a band leader in England. In our family, our mother too played a bit but nobody is as big as my father.
At which point did you decide that music is what you wanted to do?
 I have always known, it was just a question of when and how. When I was very young, I decided to leave school and join my father’s band in 1979.

Understudying your dad at that early time, did you think at that point in time that you will continue the legacy after he may have gone?
 It was about continuing the legacy. It was about will I be able to live up to what he was doing? He was a magnificent, big person in front of me. To play in the band for me was already a big deal for me. I knew all the compositions. My challenge then was will I be able to live up to the big heritage in front of me, was more of my worry. Then I told myself that I won’t be here forever. At that point, I knew I had to break off from the shell, get my life, feel my pain and experience my own down fall, lift myself up again, I suddenly knew that I had to live my life, not his life. So I left.

What were the challenges of breaking out?
 Probably the biggest challenge of my life was that everybody was totally against me, everybody criticized me including journalists. Just one or two journalists was in support of me. And they were the ones who told the others to give the young man the chance to express himself. I decided to make my name more in Europe and in America before I broke into Nigeria. 

 So I was touring with my own band from 1988 extensively outside Nigeria and I was already making a big name for myself outside Nigeria. This is because people outside Nigeria liked the fact that I wasn’t copying my father totally and I was trying to express myself and find my identity. That gave me an edge and they probably wanted to see what will become of me, so they gave me more of the chance. 
 Here in Nigeria, you must be like your father nothing less, we don’t want to hear anything. If you are not going to be a carbon copy of your father, forget it. There was room to express myself so I decided to make my name outside there. It was until 'Wonder wonder wonder' in 1994 before people started hearing my music here. 

That means there were earlier achievements before wonder wonder wonder outside
 Yes, because I was touring the biggest festivals, I was playing big clubs I had already made a name outside before here.

 Your dad too made a name outside the country, and lot of foreigners used to come here looking for him and all that. So you going there to make a name first, how did you feel?

It was part of the challenge. Nothing discourages me. I knew I would break into Nigeria someday then, but what I didn’t know was when it would take place. I knew I was not planning on stopping music, and I knew I was not planning to live abroad all my life. Those who were against me then had their point because that is part of our culture. 

 It is very hard for us to understand when a son does not agree with his father because our culture does not permit that kind of misunderstanding between father and son. Then my father being in the limelight, I knew I was quite ready for it. But I was not going to yield to the public opinion that I must do what they want. I decided that they have to accept my music and accept what I am doing or it will be a very big battle between me and the public for a very long time. So I was content in travelling out making a name and bidding my time, writing more songs.

It was not just the burden of fitting into his large shoes, but also the burden of taking over the administration and also his women. How did you overcome all that?
 Well, it was something that I already knew as a child, people were already telling me from childhood that I will take over. So psychologically, at the back of my mind, I had already known. So I will say that I was mentally prepared for it. It wasn’t much of a big deal. I didn’t change to please people. 
That is because I knew that if I fail, I will not have the people to blame for my failure and if I succeed, I will not blame people. I will have to take the praise. Therefore, I do not allow people to influence me, or decide for me, a way for me to go. I will rather fail on my own than have somebody make me succeed because of their own wish. I am not that kind of pwrson. What I am doing now is no big deal for me. I knew what I wanted to do, how I was going to do it, and what it will do for me. So till today, you will still see me practice. 
 You may not have chosen everything about your father. But you definitely chose some things like his style of songs, part of his stagecraft and even his dance steps…
 I didn t take his dancesteps o, but even if once in a while I dance like him, I believe it is okay. I mean if I don’t look, talk, sing sometimes like him, then you will have to ask my mother some questions about who my real father is. So whether I like it or not, I have to do some things like him. I think every son wants to be like their father. 

We grow up wanting to be like your father. If something happens in your family and you branch out, and decide not to go the way of your father, it is understandable. But a child grows up admiring the father. And this is just human trait. It is a culture in Africa. A son understudies the father. There was no exception in my case. I wanted to be like my father. I wanted to play music because my father was playing music.

 Three things that you admire about your dad till today
His courage, his honesty, and sincerity. When he belived in something even if he is supporting what is wrong, just because of his pride, he will stick to it till his death. There, I am a bit like him. If he gave you his word, even if both of you are wrong, he will defend you. That is because he had agreed to defend you. And he will protect you, because of the love he has for the person. If he has given you his word, even if death comes, he will stick by you. He was very honest and sincere.

Your dad had many wives. But you chose to have one. Why did you do that?
I am divorced now. I won't tell you that I don’t like women. I like women but I do not believe in marriage. I got married but I do not believe in marriage. I know that in Nigeria, many people are against my views but that is their business. It does not stop what I believe. I still do not believe in marriage. People have a right to believe in what they choose to believe. I believe that if two people want to be together, they should live together. And if they do not want to do so any longer, they should just agree within them.

  If they want to involve their family in their relationship, that is their wahala. But they should know that the more people they put in their relationship, the more problems they will have. I love a very peaceful, quiet life. When you start getting involved with family, then you won’t rest. There are some families, they won’t let you rest. I am not saying that of my ex-wife’s family, but I don’t like the idea of somebody saying to me, I pronounce you husband and wife. I don’t like it. Who is the person to pronounce me husband? Maybe it is my upbringing. 

 Then again, when you are married, the problems that you get into when you don’t want the marriage again is so complicated. The family will come everybody will talk, they will discourage you, meanwhile both of you know that you are tired. Then again both of you will continue and become very unhappy again. If the two of you are tired and decide to go your separate ways it is easier, but it is another wahala again because you have to go to court, sign papers upon papers, everybody puts their mouth into the matter, and the wahala over it is so much. 

The more popular you are, the more complicated it is. So all that discourages me from that institution. Like I said, I have a little of my mother in me. I like peace and quiet. I hate to be disturbed. I do not like it when people bring their problems all over me. That is because I already have my problems too. So I mind my business and face my problems squarely. My relationships are already complicated so if I get married to all the women in my life, it will be a total mess. Most of my children are from different mothers. They all play together. We all have an understanding that I take care of the children they see their children; they go about their own business. The children are here, enjoying their lives and I try as much as I can as a father, to make them happy. My children mean the world to me.

 But are you looking forward to marriage again?
No I don’t believe in marriage. I will never marry again. I never believed in it. When I got married, I was not sure it will work. I wanted to give it a try. I knew that being in showbiz, to have a wife that will be like my mother, is probably impossible: Someone who will tolerate women hanging around you even when you do not have anything to do with them emotionally. It is difficult for women to be tolerant and understand at such points. It doesn’t mean that a man always agrees to every woman who wants him. 

 But a wife will not hold her jealousy and let you be. It is very hard to find such women who will hold themselves, comport themselves and not complicate your life. It is the same way with a man who marries Madonna in the US for instance or Beyonce and you think that men will not be flirting with her then you have a problem. It is not a matter of a masculine saying, it is the nature of that business. 

 So to find a partner that understands is very difficult to find that kind of person, so why starting that kind of relationship that will even complicate your life that is already complicated because when your are in the music business, you have to keep writing songs, you are selling your talent and people must admire your talent and you are trying not to sell your lifestyle. So it is very complicated because then many people put your lifestyle ahead of your talent, and Nigerians have not fully developed into a position where they accept your talent over your lifestyle or they marry the two or they put your lifestyle ahead of your talent. 

 Most times when they put your lifestyle ahead of you, they give you a very bad name, they forget your talent and your career can come to a close. When you are dealing with this kind of business you have to be very observant of the industry you are relating with, and I knew this, because of my father's lifestyle. Every body might be talking of Fela today, but I tell you Fela did not have it easy in the press and even in many homes. Even us as Fela's children, we were kicked out of the house if they hear we are Fela's children, my sisters had the same problems with their boyfriends. 'You want to marry Fela's children, no, don’t come here again!'
Growing up, we knew in many circles in this country, that we were not loved because we were Fela's children. So all this is part of my upbringing, all these made me come to a lot of decisions in my life that when I'm independent, this is what I am going to do, this is what I am going to ignore. And I can still assure you there are still many homes that, if they hear Femi Kuti, they don’t like my name. Even if am popular in the street and in many areas, they will still say he is too much like his father. But if I as an artist starts to put my mind in that, I will never progress because my objective is to write as many good songs in my life. I am selling my talent, I am not selling my life.

By Paul Ukpabio
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