Fela Kuti, the legendary Nigerian musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer, and political activist, is widely regarded as the father of Afrobeat, a genre of West African musical styles influenced by highlife, American jazz, and later soul and funk influences. Fela Kuti Married 27 Women
The self-proclaimed Abami Eda (a Yoruba term that loosely translates as “mysterious or strange creature”) was also a well-known polygamist.
In 1960, Fela Kuti married his first wife Remi (then Remilekun “Remi” Taylor), a British-born Nigerian. This was while he was still a student at London’s Trinity College of Music.
Remi is the mother of Yeni, Femi, and the late Sola, his first three children.
After establishing himself as a reputable musician, Fela had a harem of women who lived with him in his home in a compound in Suruere he called ‘Kalakuta Republic’.
Many of the females worked as backup singers, dancers, and composers. Some of them were underage girls who had left their homes and families as unaccompanied minors to live with the musical legend.
These women, who were widely perceived as harlots, marijuana smokers, and so on, were, in fact, the very soul of Fela’s music.
Fela married 27 of them in a single wedding ceremony in 1978. Twelve (12) Ifa priests officiated at the mass wedding ceremony.
This occurred years after his first and only legally married wife had divorced him. Remi passed away in 2002.
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The 27 women married by the music legend came from various ethnic groups in Nigeria and elsewhere.
Fela married the women in order to protect them and disprove the rumour that he was abducting them. The wedding was attended by Fela’s family, friends, and band members.
The women include, Kikelomo Oseyni, Folake Oladejo, Tejumade Adebiyi, Naa Lamiley, Sewaa Kuti, Omotola Osaeti, Omowunmi Oyedele, Alake Anikulapo Kuti, Shade Shodeinde, Adeola Williams, Najite Kuti, Emaruagheru Osawe, Kevwe Oghomienor, Ihase Anikulapo, Adejonwo Iyabode Ogunitro, Bose Anikulapo Kuti, Lara Anikulapo Kuti, Suru Eriomola, Tokunbo Akran, Funmi Kuti, Omowunmi Afesumo, Laide Anikulapo Kuti, Ronke Edason, Damiregba Anikulapo Kuti, Aduni Idowu, Omolara Shosanya Remilekun Taylor and Fehintola Anikulapo Kuti (Seun Kuti’s mother).
The marriage served not only to mark the anniversary of the attack on the Kalakuta Republic. On February 18, 1977, the compound burned to the ground following an assault by a thousand armed soldiers.
Eight years after the mass wedding ceremony, Fela was reported to have divorced them all.
It was reported in 1986 that Fela Kuti divorced the majority of these women. This was following his release from prison in 1984 (Fela was imprisoned by Muhammed Buhari’s administration in 1984).
The afro-beat maestro justified his actions by claiming that “marriage brings jealousy and selfishness.”
However, one of the women, Laide Anikulapo-Kuti, nee Babayale, stated in a recent interview that, contrary to claims that Fela divorced her and the other 26 wives, he never divorced any of them until his death in 1997.
Fela died on August 3, 1997, from AIDS-related complications.
Some of the women he married, however, maintained that he did not die of AIDS.
Photos of Fela and his harem of women can be found below. Fela Kuti Married 27 Women
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