Yeni Kuti, the singer, says Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, her late uncle, announced the cause of Fela Kuti’s death to prevent “speculations”.


The Afrobeat legend died on August 2, 1997. Olikoye, the former minister of health, announced Fela passed away from complications related to AIDS.

In a recent interview with Chude Jideonwo, the media personality, Yeni disclosed that Fela’s children initially rejected the decision of their uncle to announce the cause of his death.

The entertainer added that they later “reluctantly” agreed that Olikoye — who also died on June 1, 2003 — should make the announcement after a series of deliberations.


Yeni said her uncle’s “decision was the best” because it buried all forms of conjecture and rumours that would have accompanied the singer’s death.

“They had already diagnosed Fela with AIDS at the hospital,” she said.

“Uncle Koye wasn’t in town when the diagnosis came and he came maybe about 2 days later.


“He says I’ve been telling Fela about his lifestyle, kinikan kinikan.

“Anyway he calls us Femi, Sola and I, my sister was still alive then. You know what has happened, I’m going to announce to the press that he has AIDS.

“We said no way, at that time cause we still thought Fela will survive.

“We are saying, look it’s not your place to announce that Fela, if Fela survives let him because me I know that Fela will come and announce that he has AIDS.


“Leave him to announce his sickness by himself, you don’t do it for him.

“He says okay, you have a point and then he left us. But then Fela now died.

“And he says he is going to announce that Fela had AIDS. We quarreled with him, then the whole family came and started talking to us.

“You know, it’s not good to lie, it’s not good to avoid the truth, people are going to even still discover.


“So reluctantly we agreed but I have to say it now I think it was the best decision my Uncle made.

“If he had not announced it till now they will still be doing underground … so what killed Fela?.

“But you say no Fela died of AIDS.

“The press that wanted to go to town and be investigating, there’s nothing to investigate because the family has already come out.


“I learnt a very good lesson from that experience that it’s better to just come up with the truth.

“I think till today, 25 years later, that would be the headline of every, What killed Fela?

“But now nobody is really talking about that, they are now talking about his successes.

“To my uncle, that was the best decision ever. I know he is not alive to hear but we told him then sha.

“Because when the thing happened he said so don’t you agree that it was the best? Ah yes Uncle Koye, it was the best decision.”

Yeni is the first daughter of Fela.

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