My Family Initially Didn’t Accept Fela Died Of AIDS – Yeni Kuti

During a recent conversation with media personality Chude Jideonwo, Yeni Kuti, the daughter of afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, unveiled a previously undisclosed detail about her family’s reaction to her uncle’s announcement regarding Fela’s cause of death.

Yeni disclosed that when her uncle, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, initially proposed revealing that Fela had passed away due to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), they, the children of the late singer, were hesitant to accept this revelation. However, after persistent persuasion from other family members, they eventually agreed to allow their uncle to make the announcement.

In retrospect, Yeni acknowledged that her uncle’s decision was the most appropriate course of action. It effectively put an end to lingering speculations and rumors surrounding the cause of Fela’s untimely demise, ensuring that the truth prevailed and was permanently laid to rest.

She said, “Then, I didn’t think the decision by his brother [Dr. Olikoye Ransome Kuti] to announce that he [Fela] died of AIDS was the best.

“I remember we [Fela’s children] had a big fight with my uncle at a time. They had already diagnosed Fela with AIDS at the hospital.

“Uncle Koye wasn’t in town when the diagnosis came. And he came maybe about two days later…Then he called us, Femi, Shola and I, ‘you know what has happened, I’m going to announce to the press that he has AIDS.’

“We said, ‘No, way’. At that time, we still thought Fela would survive. We said, ‘look, it’s not your place to announce that Fela has AIDS, if Fela survives, let him.’ And he said, ‘Okay, you have a point.’

“But then, Fela now died. And he [Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti] said he is going to announce that Fela had AIDS.

“We quarrelled with him. The whole family started talking to us, ‘it’s not good to lie, people are still going to discover.’ So, reluctantly, we agreed.

“But I have to say it now, I think it was the best decision that my uncle made. If he had not announced it, till now they [journalists] will still be doing underground ‘what killed Fela?’”

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