The KSA Memoir: How I returned to limelight after my near death experience

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KSA....The Enigma...
“Immediately I came back from London, I contacted Dr. Dokpesi.  I thanked him and told him that I wanted to do a big show to mark my return.  I said I would use the occasion to thank God and all those people that God used to help at that my trying period.  He said he was also ready to host me at Eko Hotel.  The idea of how I would design the stage came to me while I was in Ilesha to thank the man of God who helped me in London.  I had told my manager there, “I want to do this show.  Even if I don’t play again, this is the song I want to sing.  It is echoing in my ears.  Even if I collapse while singing that song and die, I think I would be satisfied”.  He started crying.  Everybody started to cry.  I said it was not a matter of crying that that was the song I wanted to sing.
KSA....The Celebrator
I designed the stage and everything on that spot.  Then I called Bhola telling her that I needed a back drop, “a big, big back drop that would cover the whole stage”.  She is a professional, she is capable, and she is there when you want her to do anything for you.  She designed the whole thing in the basement of the National Theatre.  I then told them to bring me big, big stage from TBS.  You know, eight people had to carry one!  They now went down to Dokpesi that I had started working again.  The man rushed down and said, “why all these?”  I said, “Doctor, you are a perfectionist.  I won’t do anything that would sap my energy.  I’m only supervising”.  He then said, “Okay, let us do it together”.


“In awarding the scholarships, sometimes we take the best students from one particular area or look into the record of those students that are very good but whose parents do not have the money to further their education and help out.  Sometimes, we look around and just select from different fields.  Occasionally when we see something that touches the heart in the newspapers we assist”.
KSA....The Philosopher
A big Appreciation show by the King…
So I designed what I had in mind for the National Theatre since 1977.  Apart from the South African dance group, Ipi Tombi, no other group has since been able to use the entire stage in a performance.  I used the whole stage.  It was a three hour show without closing the curtain.  We changed costumes without the audience knowing.  That was the day I became a close friend of Geraldo Pino.  He stood there and said, “What a hell is this?  I’ve never seen this kind of a show”.

A day to the show, I sent my manager, Adisa Adeyemi to London to buy everything we needed with the clear instruction to come back the next morning. And no matter where he is today, may the Lord continue to bless him.  He went and when I saw him the next morning I was so happy that I said, “Boys, I’m going to have a great show”.  Then I called Tunde Kelani to film the event. I did not do that until one hour to opening.  That very morning I sent somebody to go to Alaba to buy brigade drums for me. We did everything.  All the guitars, wireless; all the microphones, wireless.  We did not sleep the night before.  It was that very morning I told my boys the movement on stage and the exact positions the instrumentalists, dancers and singers would be and the flow. We didn’t rehearse.  But they were so happy.  When we had the first show, the audience refused to leave at the end…
KSA....The Victor
Birth of the King Sunny Ade Foundation…
It was soon after that that I decided to launch, the King Sunny Ade Foundation. It is only God who knows what he meant for me at that particular period.  Maybe God made it possible to make me know how much people loved me, or it was a sign of what would happen when I am gone so I decided to have a foundation.  I had been working on it since 1983.  This was soon after I left as protem president of PMAN.  The King Sunny Ade Foundation at the time was meant to help old musicians and other people that are underprivileged.  I did not know that I would live long like this.  This is because I have seen many musicians come and go and for somebody to last for 30, 40 years and still there in music. I had to give something back.  I was also thinking of a legacy that I would be leaving behind.
KSA...The Survivor
So I decided to get people who matter to start it so that even when I’m gone, the foundation would be there.  And I wanted it to take shape while I am still alive.  In forming it, I was able to get prominent personalities to be part of it. They include Fola Alade, General Adebayo Adeyinka, Chief Molade Okoya Thomas, Chief Olu Awotesu, Justice M.O. Onalaja, Prince Adeyemo Adeyera, Erelu Folashade, Erelu Abiola Dosumu and Senator Florence Ita Giwa.  Others are:  Femi Bola-Shadipe (secretary), my international manager, Mr. Andy Frankel, Mr. Esan Ogunleye and Dr. Raymond Dopkesi.  There are about 13 of them including my humble self.  But unfortunately, the formation was during the General Sani Abacha era.  When a group of people like these are meeting in one place at the time, security operatives were always around.  Sometimes they came with helicopters hovering near the meeting place.  That made it a little difficult to function.  But it came into being on April 29, 1994 at the National Theatre, Lagos.  Even the late Head of State, General Abacha sent Chief Bode George to represent him.  For now, we use the King Sunny Ade Organization’s office as the secretariat.  But the headquarters of the foundation will be in Lekki, Lagos.
Chief Raymond Dokpesi
We have done a lot under the foundation but we do not publicize these.  I have now aligned the foundation with the scholarship awards that I used to give every year.  I have had that one since 1971.  It was Chief Gani Fawehinmi who helped me set that up.  In awarding the scholarships, sometimes we take the best students from one particular area or look into the record of those students that are very good but whose parents do not have the money to further their education and help out.  Sometimes, we look around and just select from different fields.  Occasionally when we see something that touches the heart in the newspapers we assist.  We do these things silently.  By the grace of God, this year (2006) we are going to give scholarships to 60 students as part of my 60th birthday.  And some children of my band boys will benefit this year…
KSA....The Thankgiver
(Excerpts from the book; KSA: My Life, My Music by King Sunny Ade. Read ‘In the King’s ambience’ tomorrow on this blog)

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