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Yeni Kuti Reveals The Reason Behind Public Announcement Of Fela’s Cause Of Death



Yeni Kuti and Fela

Yeni Kuti, the daughter of the late Afrobeat legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has revealed the reason behind her uncle’s announcement that her father died of AIDS.

In a recent interview with media personality Chude Jideonwo, Yeni shared the story behind the public disclosure of her father’s cause of death, News About Nigeria reports.

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, a renowned musician and activist, passed away on August 2, 1997.

At the time, his brother, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, made the decision to publicly announce that Fela had died from complications related to AIDS.

Yeni and her siblings initially resisted this decision, but after much persuasion from family members, they agreed to let their uncle reveal the truth.

During the interview, Yeni explained that they eventually realized that their uncle’s decision was the best course of action.

It helped put an end to speculations and rumors surrounding the cause of Fela’s death.

By openly acknowledging that AIDS was the cause, they hoped to raise awareness about the disease and dispel any misconceptions.

Yeni Kuti expressed gratitude for her uncle’s decision, acknowledging that it brought closure to the discussions and speculation about Fela’s passing.

Her words,

“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?”