Chude: Do you think Fela was a good father?
Yeni: In his own way, Yes…but in the conventional sense, No.
My identity and pride as an African woman, I learnt from my Father. So, who I am today was shaped by him but I think as a conventional father, No. I don’t think he should have had children. I think he should have just been a father to all the nation. Didn’t feel any special bond that you were Fela’s child. You are just another human being as long as he was concerned.
Chude: Was that painful?
Yeni: You could resent it, but I just had to rise above it. But it caused a lot of rift between us. I mean there was a time that Femi and Fela quarreled. Of course Fela quarreled with Femi, Sola and I. So if we were going to settle, we will send Femi, ‘you’re the son now, you go and settle with your father. If you settle with him, Sola and I will follow.’ So it was different. We didn’t call him Daddy for instance. I have a younger brother who said his children should call him by his name. So I went to his house and they were saying ‘Kunle Kunle’ I said ehn? You’re calling your father Kunle? You don’t want to be a responsible father? From today, stop letting them call you by your name.’ So when they came to Nigeria, I asked ‘have you started calling your father Daddy?’ They said yes. I think us not calling him daddy made him not realize the gravity of having kids.
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