Yeni, the first daughter of the late creator of Afrobeat music, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, revealed what the father told her about religion and why Politicians should be allowed to use ‘juju’ to swear in to reduce the increasing corruption in the country in this interview.
She argued that the traditional African medicine (also known as ‘juju’) should be a tool for fighting corruption, especially in official circles.
Yeni, who shares her late dad’s belief in the potency of ‘juju’, noted that government should use it to administer oaths to elected officials and government appointees, instead of the Holy Bible and the Koran.
“Just as Sophie Oyewole has suggested, let them use it to swear in government officials and we shall see if anybody will continue to steal our money in this country or not. I am sure that if they are made to swear by Ogun or some other fearsome African deity, there will be no more corruption,” she said.
Saying that Fela had appeared to her in a dream on some occasions, she added, “It’s 20 years since my father died, but it doesn’t seem as if he has been gone for so long. I miss him and I still talk to him in my mind. He and other departed members of my family have also appeared to me in my dreams. I don’t know if it is right to say that they appear to me, but I see them in my dreams. I dream of them a lot.”
“I believe in life after death. Also I believe that if my father has a message for me, he will come directly to me and not go through someone I don’t know or like. If anybody tells me that Fela has sent a message to me through him, I would tell him to ask my dad to appear to me directly himself,” she said.
Although it was no secret that Fela, despite coming from a deeply Christian background, never encouraged his children to attend church services, Yeni made another revelation when she said that she did attend church occasionally. “But that is when I am invited to weddings, burial ceremonies or other events,” she quickly added.
“But I was not brought up to form the habit of going to church, especially on Sundays,” the princess of Afrobeat said.
The celebrated dancer (now ‘retired’) went on to correct the impression that her choice of religion was largely influenced by Fela. Explaining that he did not compel her to believe in the ancestral mode of worship, she said, “It is not that my father made me to embrace it through indoctrination; I learnt and I actually believe in it. As a matter of fact, Fela’s arguments in defence of the traditional African religion were enough to convince me.”
Yeni also recalled one of her most memorable encounters with her dad. “When I was a young girl and I knew nothing about his dislike for what he often described as ‘foreign religions’ (Christianity and Islam), I used to visit the Braithwaites and accompany them to church on Sundays. When Fela heard of it, he warned me never to use the allowance he gave me for offering in the church. I can’t forget it,” she said.
Arguing that many Nigerians had always been hypocritical about religion, she noted that some people professed to be devout Christians or Muslims by day, yet sneaked out at night to consult local herbalists or diviners. “What they are doing is wrong. It is either you belong to this or you belong to the other,” she said.