Salawa Abeni on pains of polygamy
spite of all her achievements -fame and wealth -Waka music great, Salawa Abeni, has confessed that she still has one regret. In an interview with Sunday Sun, Queen Salawa Abeni (QSA) said that she regrets not going to school.
“I really regret to going to school. To be honest with you, I'd loved to be a graduate. However, you cannot blame my parents for not sending me to school. It was just because they could not afford it.”
However, Salawa is not weeping over spilled milk. She has taken steps to correct the anomaly.
All her children are currently in top schools in Europe. “Yes, I can afford to live a life of luxury, buy flashy cars and build houses. But my priority is the education of my children. I want them to enjoy the education that I lack. My eldest daughter is studying for Masters Degree; it is the same for all of them. I invest my money on them.”
It must, however, be said that Salawa has started reaping the fruits of her labour. She has in the last few years improved on herself. She can now converse in English Language and even conduct a lengthy interview in the language. All this, she revealed was the result of her investment in her kids. “I really thank God. Now, you can see that I am able to answer your questions effortlessly. My daughters taught me how to speak the English language. Aside from them, I also take lessons from my manager. They've all done well to teach me.”
Salawa Abeni came to national prominence as a child prodigy. She appeared on the scene in the early 70s a little scrubby-looking girl clutching the microphone.
At that time, Waka music was a local genre mostly enjoyed by a few groups of people in the south west of the country. But her emergence brought a touch of class, which was lacking previously.
More than three decades on, Salawa Abeni has grown to become a household name and an icon in the Nigerian music industry. She has put Waka music on the world musical map with performances in the US and Europe.
Speaking with Sunday Sun, the woman popularly addressed as Queen Salawa Abeni (QSA) confessed that life was tough as a child. According to her, she grew up not knowing some of her siblings.
“I must confess to you, it was tough. I did not know my younger brother until we were grown ups. While I was living with one member of the family, he was living with another. It was like that for most of us.”
Though her parents could not afford her education, little Salawa packed enough talent to be noticed by a music promoter who took a special interest in her. For 15 years, she said she could not see her sick mother because of the tight schedule.
Salawa became the talk of the town as she waxed one popular album after another. Her albums outsold those of already established names who had long been on the scene . Her fame triggered off young girls' interests in the Waka music. From a state of almost non-existence, Waka music suddenly started rubbing shoulders with Fuji and juju.
However, Salawa disclosed that despite the fame, she made little money for all her effort at the beginning. “Though I was very popular as a little girl, as a matter of fact, I waxed about 15 albums within the period but that was all. I did not make anything as royalty. I only had fame.”
However, what she failed to get at home was given to her in large quantity whenever she went on tour of the UK. According to her, the kind of star treatment she gets from her hosts in the UK and other foreign countries often make her doubt if she was not dreaming.
“My experience with foreign promoters has often made cry for joy. I remember the day I performed before the Queen of England alongside Mariam Makeba. I tell you, I am really grateful to God. He has promoted me a great deal.”
Today, at 45, Salawa believes she has seen it all. She is however unhappy with the state of the entertainment industry in the country. According to her, the industry is not performing at full capacity. “The industry has great capacity to take this country to the next level. Unfortunately, what we are getting now is 20% of the capacity.”