In 1978, the pioneer of Afrobeats, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, married 27 women in one day. This should not be strange to those who know the life and style of the Nigerian music legend nicknamed Abami Eda (strange creature).
Many of Fela’s band members became homeless after the devastating soldier attack on Fela’s commune (Kalakuta Republic) in 1977. In order to keep them together, Fela decided to do the unusual.
He gave a piece of paper to his female band members requesting the names of those that would like to marry him; the entire twenty-seven female band members put down their names.
After getting their consent, Fela Kuti married the 27 women on the 20th of February, 1978, at the Parisona Hotel in Anthony, Lagos, with the blessings of twelve Ifa priests. It was alleged that some parents of the ladies objected to the marriage.
Fela married the women to protect and keep them together. The marriage ceremony was attended by Fela’s family, friends, and other band members.
During the marriage ceremony, Fela rendered a short speech, pressed naira notes on his new wives’ foreheads and gave them marriage certificates. Fela embraced a rotation system of 12 wives at a time. After the marriage, Fela took his 27 wives to Ghana for a honeymoon.
However, in 1986, shortly after his release from prison, Fela Kuti divorced his 27 wives on the claim that marriage brings jealousy. It should be noted that they were not forced to leave his house after the divorce; some lived with him till his death in 1997.