Yeni Kuti, the first daughter of the late Afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, recently had a very interesting interview with Tribune. She talked about life as a single mom and her pet peeves. Read excerpts below:
Life as a single mum:
You know it’s a different feeling altogether. I was travelling in a plane, and the plane began malfunctioning. My first thought as a woman was ‘who will take care of my daughter if anything should happen to me?’ I was praying to my Creator to preserve my life because of her.
I used to smoke, but when my daughter gained admission into the university, I told myself, ‘you might die before this girl graduates, who will pay her tuition?’ That was the only motivation I needed to stop because I knew that I must see her through university. And when she graduated, I did not see the need to continue smoking.
Do African woman have equal rights?
We have more rights, yes, but equal rights? I don’t think so.
When I tried to buy a gun, they said they don’t sell guns to women.
Why did you try to buy a gun?
Armed robbers had attacked us at home and I needed a gun to protect myself.
Can you shoot somebody?
Ah, if my life or my child’s life is in danger, yes I will fire the culprit without thinking twice. Even when I did gun practice a while ago, it was very interesting, because I was able to see how people become killers, as one gets a lot of power holding a gun. But unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to own one. Meanwhile, men can own guns. Funny enough, I believe we women are the stronger sex. A man cannot take a broken heart the way a woman would. A woman will take a broken heart and move on. An average man will not recover from a broken heart for years.
Growing up in a polygamous home
Growing up in a polygamous setting made me more tolerant of the infidelity of men.
Did your views on marriage change?
Well, I still got married, but I did not expect my husband to be faithful. I didn’t demand or expect it. If he was unfaithful, it would not cause any fight between us.
Her pet peeves with men
I hate lazy men a lot. But the African society has put women at the receiving end one too many times. For instance, if a woman doesn’t give birth, all eyes will be on her, while no one will even point a finger at the man, and it might be the man who is sterile, while the woman is very fertile. I think we women need to fight for our rights more.
There are lots of women leaders who are in the Senate, House of Representatives, but they are just jollofing and not fighting for women’s rights. I still remember when I was refused the opportunity of buying a gun, I wasn’t happy when they said women couldn’t buy guns. I began to ask myself; what are women in government doing? If I was at the House of Representatives, women’s rights would be my main focus.
When a man is corrupt, I can understand it, but when a woman is corrupt, I cannot tolerate it because we are the mothers, we are the ones to set the pace. I believe women are the higher being. The man brings home the money, but we are the one to bring up the children. But when the man doesn’t bring home the “backery” he is a useless and lazy man. He should be made to go and work.
I’m not saying women shouldn’t work, but it should be a matter of choice, that is if she can cope with asking her husband for everything she wants to buy. Then it is her choice.
Some people say women are their greatest enemies. Do you agree with that?
100 per cent. I would give you a very good example. A woman gets married and cannot have a child. Her husband will keep urging her on with his understanding. It is her mother-in-law and husband’s sister that will become her greatest antagonists. They will start to call her a witch and blame her for doing numerous abortions when they are supposed to stand by their own fellow woman. I can bet you that the father of the man will not be doing that. It is the mother or the sister. That is why these days, women look out for husbands who have dead mother-in-law, so that they will have peace of mind.