Monday, 21 November 2016

The KSA Memoir: How I became ill after taking a role in Fopomoyo + Why I didn’t drink water for a year…


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KSA; Stopped drinking water for an entire year

“I fell ill in 1991.  The first sign of that illness was when I started coughing.  I thought it was a minor thing so I would take those sweets which I was told could clear cough to stop it not knowing the cough was caused by dust.  By that time I was taking part in Jimoh Aliu’s film, Fopomoyo.  When I finished my show every Friday, Saturday and Sunday I would leave on Monday afternoon for Ado-Ekiti.  Then we would go into the bush which was the film’s location. 
I would be there till Friday morning when I would leave for Lagos to play again, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  And on Monday I would leave for Ado-Ekiti again.  So when the cough continued, I went to Iduna Specialist Hospital, Apapa, where the doctor after examining me said it was caused by dust.  “Do you normally go out in the open?”  He had asked. I didn’t want to tell him it was more than that. It was Bhola Eberiga who told him:  “Doctor, every Monday he leaves Lagos for Ado-Ekiti, far away in Ondo State (now Ekiti State) and returns to Lagos to play”.  The doctor was shocked.


Jimoh Aliyu aka Aworo....The Man in whose custody KSA was 'attacked'
The Story of Lady Bhola Eberiga…
Now, a word about Bhola Eberiga; she was one of those who designs my costumes.  And she had been doing that since 1969 from Ibadan.  She was also interested in my image and was always concerned about me.  But more importantly, she always spoke her mind.  When she sees anything wrong she would tell you to your face.  And she did that more to protect you than anything else.  She was such a great friend.  She it was that introduced me to Iduna Specialist Hospital.  And because the medical director who had earlier treated her for gall stone took her as a daughter, I was glad for him to be my doctor.

Each time I came around, he would always like to examine me.  “Lie down, lie down, let me see what’s happening to you”, he would always say.  Sometime he would take me to his house which was in the same premises and we would sit down and talk for hours.  But when Bhola told him about my movement which caused the cough, I was mad at her.  I was upset with myself and was even crossed with the doctor.  “You are going nowhere”, the doctor had declared asking the nurses to set up a bed for me.  It was then I explained to him why I was moving from Lagos to Ado-Ekiti so frequently.
KSA...Got sick after hitting Jimoh Aliyu's Fopomoyo location in Ekiti State
First, I was fully booked for the season and second, I had to help Jimoh Aliu out in his first personal film, Fopomoyo, “Sir”, I said, “the financier, Chief Balogun of Express Fisheries made my appearance a condition for releasing the money and in fact that money was given to me to give Aliu”.  He understood.  Still, he said I had to remain in the hospital for at least three days.  I managed to stay that night but as soon as he closed, I sneaked out.  I returned to Ado Ekiti and came back on Thursday instead of Friday and went straight to see him.  He was unhappy with me saying they had been looking for me all over.  I apologized…

“As I was playing, my body was getting weaker and weaker.  I told myself, instead of you to fall or anything you should leave the microphone.  So I left the stage and went to the room to lie down.  And for the first time in my musical career, I burst into tears.  I didn’t know when the tears came.  The band boys were now asking what the matter was”.
KSA...Battled an unknown illness until he got to London
How I stopped drinking water for a year…
At a point exhaustion came.  There was no time to rest.  The cough had now gone but sometimes when I finish a show in Lagos on Sunday, I would sleep all the way to Ado-Ekiti.  As soon as I came down, people would be telling me that I looked tired and always asked whether I had slept or rested at all.  That was also the period that the problem of salt water came up in Lagos.  I decided not to drink water at all except tea.  For a year plus, I drank only tea.  This was based on ignorance.  It was on a completely useless, baseless, idiotic belief that I could survive on tea only that I stopped drinking water.  Even when the salt water problem stopped I continued with my tea.  I did not know that the caffeine had already entered my blood.  So exhaustion set in.  And this was very evident at my next show when I played in Lagos for Chief Rasaq Okoya of Eleganza.  Very unusual of me, in the middle of the show, I felt so tired that I called for a break.  And Chief Okoya came and said, “Sunny, this is very unusual of you.  Are you okay?”  I said no problem only we want to fix one of the instruments!  Still not convinced, he said, “if you want to have a break, have a break and join us.  Don’t say you want to use all your energy like that because the way you are even playing it’s like…”  We had about one hour break and resumed.  We finished around 6.30a.m.  I then left for Ijebu-Igbo for another show.

The Alabukun strategy…
By the time I got there, it was like I was having a fever, or a headache.  My usual illness is malaria and when I take the medicine, it would go.  But this was different.  That was the first time I was unable to pull myself together. As luck would have it, NEPA was bringing and taking light every five minutes and the generator was not working well.  So I used that time to rest.  I don’t normally have time to rest at shows – if I’m on stage I would be playing non-stop.  As I was not getting any better, I told somebody to go and buy Alabukun for me.  In 1968, I was the first musician to promote Alabukun but I never took it then.  Five minutes after taking it, sweat came on my body and I felt good.  NEPA also came on and I started firing on stage.  I closed around 8a.m.  I had so much energy…
KSA....Nearly died after Fopomoyo but didn't die
We then proceeded to Ilorin for the next show.  We had to pass through Ondo as I was to have a short meeting with the Military Administrator, Col. Olusanya.  Immediately, he saw me, he said, “Sunny, you look pale. Are you all right?”  I said, “Well, I’m just coming from a show”.  He said, “No, you need rest. This life has no duplicate.  You know we love you.  We can’t afford to miss you.  Where are you going?”  Before I could answer, he called somebody to give a key to one of the guest houses.  I said, “No sir, I’m playing at Ilorin”.  He said, “Well, my God will be with you”.

The Ilorin trials…
When I got to Ilorin, to avoid people talking to me, I went into the room given to us. The venue was filled to capacity.  When I was introduced, I could hardly dance.  So I said to myself, what I did yesterday I’m going to do now.  I sent somebody to go and buy me Alabukun.  But they did not see Alabukun.  As I was playing, my body was getting weaker and weaker.  I told myself, instead of you to fall or anything you should leave the microphone.  So I left the stage and went to the room to lie down.  And for the first time in my musical career, I burst into tears.  I didn’t know when the tears came.  The band boys were now asking what the matter was.  They called in a doctor who came and gave me an injection.  Within five minutes, I began to vomit.  My body came hot and I was a little bit relieved and I said, “I want to go and play”.  But I couldn’t.  The injection was supposed to be for malaria but my condition remained the same for three to four days.  They then called my doctor on phone.  He said they should find a way to bring me to Lagos.
KSA....'My illness started with cough but it was bigger than cough'
When I got to Lagos, he checked me and said I should give him the medical report from Ilorin.  When he read it, he said: “God, I thank you, I thank you I thank you that I’m not part of the people that would have been throwing their hands to their backs walking round the corpse of Sunny Ade”.  He now said, “for this, I don catch you.  You’re going nowhere.”  He then began treatment.  That was Wednesday and I had a show on Friday.  By Friday I felt I was well enough so I sneaked out again for the show.  When I came, he was very angry.  He said if he could slap me, he would have done so.  He sat me down and told me about life.  What staying on this planet earth means.

(Excerpts from the book; KSA: My Life, My Music by King Sunny Ade. Read ‘How Primate Olabayo’s Prayers for me failed twice’ tomorrow on this blog)

Gbenga Dan Asabe

Africa's Number One Celebrity Encounter Blog

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