The Night I Met A Beautiful Angel

by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
Sola Kuti

Let me today remember an Angel I once met in this life.

Let’s simply call her Sola.

Angel Sola Kuti.

She’s Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s daughter.

My devotion to Fela as an unbeatable music maestro is a very long story, but that is not the story for today.

Back in 1979, when I was in my first academic year at Great Ife, Fela was billed to perform on campus in a concert tagged “TV is 20”.

The concert was to celebrate 20 years of the coming of television in Nigeria, as powered by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, the legendary Premier of the Western Region, who set up Western Nigeria Television (WNTV).

It was cool by me that no less an artiste than Fela was on hand to celebrate such a landmark event.

The appetiser was the good jamming of watching Fela at rehearsal on the eve of date of the concert – May 27, 1979.

Well, while Fela was having his rehearsal that night at the Oduduwa Amphitheatre stage I saw this young girl walking about.

I walked up fast to the petite damsel and said: “Go to sleep! A young girl should not be walking about this late in the night!”

She laughed good-naturedly and replied: “You are the young boy who should be on your bed, sleeping!”

I then told her: “I am Captain Borojah, and it is my duty to send all underage kids to go home and sleep!”

“I am Sola,” she replied, still smiling.

“Shola…” I was saying…

“No, it’s Sola, not Shola,” she corrected me.

I repeatedly called her Shola but she always corrected me that she was Sola, with no “Sh” as was usually the case.

There was something poetically arresting about her such that in spite of myself I instantly became friends with this angel of the night who carried no airs despite being the daughter of a living legend.

“Come and see my friends,” she said, and led me up to the left side of the amphitheatre.

She introduced me to a handful of young boys and girls who had come with her from Lagos.

I sat down amongst them, with Sola by my side.

The boys in the group did not like me at all because I was carrying on like I owned the entire campus, saluting one bloke here and doing high fives with another chum there.

Without my asking her for such a favour, Sola promised to get me tickets for her father’s concert the next day.

Fela concert in IfeI was sleeping in my Awo Hall abode and had completely forgotten about Sola when a boon companion of mine woke me up to announce that Fela’s daughter was looking for me at the Porter’s Lodge.

I ran up to the place, and Sola was standing at the Porter’s Lodge with two of her friends.

One of Sola’s friends saluted me thusly: “Captain Borojah!”

I laughed, feeling cool and very heavy.

I offered to buy them drinks at the buttery but Sola said she still had some tasks to undertake backstage before the start of her father’s show.

She gave me a handful of tickets for me and my friends, and asked me to come in good time to join her group.

When she left, I gave one of the tickets to my good friend, Patrick Izobo-Agbebeaku, alias Gedu, who would later, after our graduation, set the record of “The First Graduate Molue Bus Conductor”, as captured on the front page of Sunday Times.

My buddy Gedu brought his Polaroid camera to take pictures of me and Sola, and of course, Fela and the amphitheatre concert generally.

Sola and her friends welcomed me and Gedu at the Oduduwa Hall lounge before we took our seats in the amphitheatre.

I sat with Sola near the stage while her father played pulsating afro-beats, after having been introduced to the teeming audience by, as Sola said, “Uncle Wole Soyinka.”

Amid the carnivalesque camaraderie, Gedu dutifully took pictures of me and Sola, and the performing maestro Fela.

Trouble was I could hardly stay in one place to keep Sola the requisite company.

Her friends were telling her that I was too restless, in short, a rascal, and she reported all that her friends said about me during my absences.

As a protest to my restlessness, she covered her face with her fingers when Gedu wanted to take a picture of us together.

It’s such a pity that Polaroid photographs do not last at all, for I’ll be having mementos that many would kill for!

Sola was indeed an angel, given the manner she tolerated my strange doings.

I said I would pay her a visit anytime I’m in Lagos, a promise I never kept.

Angels do not live long.

My angel died young.

A tear for me!

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