Yeni Kuti, daughter of afrobeat pioneer, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, has revealed that the decision by her uncle, Dr. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, to announce that the late singer died of Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS, was initially rejected by them, the deceased’s children.
She said they later accepted for their uncle to make the announcement after series of persuasions from family members.
Yeni disclosed this in a recent chat with media personality, Chude Jideonwo.
The dancer said she later discovered that her uncle’s decision was the best because it put speculations about the cause of the death of the legendary musician to rest permanently.
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?'”