Dear Kiki: Your mum was Mrs. Incredible


Dear Kiki

Did you know what a Nigeria Icon of music and entertainment your mother was?

Do you know in how much awe she was held?

Just a day after hearing of the demise of Kehinde Lijadu (of the Lijadu sisters?), I literally meet you for the first time and I cannot tell you the gamut of emotions that went through me in that time.

You told me Frances passed away in 1997. I have now read that it happened just a few days after her world renown uncle, Fela Anikulapo Kuti passed away too. Then the family also lost his sister Sola that year. What a tragic year the Ransom-Kuti and the Kuboye family had in 1997!

You probably know more than most about the life this incredible woman you called mother and who we called Fran Kuboye! From growing up in England and studying dentistry at the University of Sheffield to going on to practice dentistry in Nigeria and the UK.

You probably also had first hand experience on a daily basis of her life of being wife, mother, singer, tv personality, sax player, piano player and artistic painter.

How talented was she??

What an absolute star!!

You were probably too young to remember her hosting the arts segment of the Sunday Show with the late Livi Ajuonuma but I was not. I watched her and was enraptured by her proper British accent!

Today as I talked to you about the maverick that your mother was, I saw your eyes light up with pride.

As you should be…

The story of the Nigerian entertainment industry would not be complete without the mention of the great Fran Kuboye! Or her husband Tunde for that matter, who encouraged her to be the very best that she could be. You should be proud of this great lineage! Only one with great depth would have named you Agbaraoluwakiibaati. Your name since I heard it this morning still makes me stop… and breath Kiki.. It is so refreshing!

You see, like her grandmother Funmilayo Ransom-Kuti, Fran championed and advocated for women’s rights in her own way. She set up a non-profit organization called Girl Watch a TREE in my life (Trees Rights Environment Empowerment) to empowered less privileged girl children and promote gender equality. Using the arts and crafts as a medium, young girls were taught about the dangers of female genital mutilation, the importance of education and
the impact of sewing seeds as little actions that results in the long run.

But you probably already know all of this too.

Fran did good. This is why Nigeria will not forget!

Walking into a little church in Newport and meeting you today was the highlight of my week! We spoke like old friends. Our single point of contact, the woman who birthed you and was a wonder to many, myself included!

Thank you for taking me this far back today!

You Icon Mother spotter
Eme Esop


Ps. I will take you up on that coffee invite. Only I will drink hot chocolate and there’s no second-guessing what the topic up for discussion will be.

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