The KSA Memoir: My childhood life in Oshogbo

KSA…Playing another pranks on CITY PEOPLE’s Publisher, Dr. Seye Kehinde

“My
memory of my childhood in Ondo is
very faint.  Since I was forced to leave
the town at the age of five, the only thing I took away from there was the Ondo dialect.  In Osogbo,
we settled in Agbole Baba Kekere, along Station
Road
, Osogbo.

My parents
seemed to have no problem adjusting to their new environment.  For me, it was different.  The variant of Yoruba language spoken in Osogbo was alien to me.  Even the simplest conversation left me
without a clue.  I was not aware that
there was any other variant of the Yoruba
language except the one spoken by Ondos.  If there was a linguistic shock, that was it.
Each time our neighbors gave me food, they would say: ‘Ma Jeun’ (I want to eat).  I would respond by ignoring them.  I ignored them not because I did not like
what had been offered, but because I was clueless about what they wanted me to
do. I only realized that I should eat when my mother said: ‘Oya, ka je, ka je.’  This is the Ondo equivalent of ma
jeun’
(I want to eat).

KSA goes to School

KSA and Mum, the woman who never joked with him (Inset is Dad)

My childhood
nickname…
Before
long, my linguistic difficulty earned me an unwanted gift in the shape of a
nickname – ka je.  I found the name not just unappealing, but
offensive.  Each time anyone called me
that, I flew into a rage.  But the
angrier I got with those who called me ka
je
, the happier they got and the more they were willing to ensure that it
stuck.  It did because I was not wise
enough to realize that my anger was inspiring them to persist with the
name.  However, I was rescued from the
taunting by my mother who advised me to deny them the satisfaction of seeing me
angry each time they called me ka je.
It worked.  I controlled my anger each
time I was called and by the time I was 10, almost everybody had forgotten that
they called me ka je.

“But the angrier I
got with those who called me ka je,
the happier they got and the more they were willing to ensure that it
stuck.  It did because I was not wise
enough to realize that my anger was inspiring them to persist with the name.  However, I was rescued from the taunting by
my mother who advised me to deny them the satisfaction of seeing me angry each
time they called me ka je. It
worked”


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KSA….Played so much pranks on mum and gave the world good music

How Ondo Prophecy came to
pass in
Oshogbo
In
Osogbo, I also ran into a man who
appeared to confirm the prophecy that preceded my birth.  One day, I was walking along a bush path near
a refuse dump when a man stopped me and said: ‘boy, come’.  I ignored him
out of fear that he was a kidnapper. 
There were many of them in those days and there were tales that they
used children for money-making rituals. 
I stopped at a distance from him. 
Then the man spoke: ‘Do you know
you are a great man?’
  I said “God will let it be, thank you sir”. 
When I got home, I told my mother who reasoned that the man must be a
prophet. She also claimed a similar thing had been said at my christening by a
man who went into trance and warned my parents to take very good care of
me.  I actually did not know what to make
of those prophecies because I simply did not have the faculty to understand
their import. Anyway, they seem to have come true because anywhere they see my
facial marks, people say:  ‘That
is Sunny Ade
, Omo
Ondo’
(an indigene of Ondo) and when you get to Ondo, they will say this is Sunny Ade’s town’.  So, I assume that this is in fulfillment of
the predictions about me.  If I was just
being told of the prophecy now, I probably would not believe it.

KSA and his kids; will they also play pranks on him

KSA….Running away from Mum for Music; Pranks Unlimited…

My Mother’s food
business…
Beyond
the linguistic irritation I had on my arrival, I found Osogbo a nice place.  Also, things seemed to be looking skyward for
my parents.  My mother and her younger
sister jointly owned a restaurant. 
Restaurant may not be the appropriate word for it because it was in an
open space in the front and back of where we lived.  However, it was a thriving business.  Daily, they catered for over 500 people, most
of them construction workers hired by a contractor we called Kaka
in Araromi.

The Sunny Alade family

He
was a big time contractor who had all kinds of artisans:  bricklayers, carpenters, welders and what
have you.  It was like cooking for an
army.  We usually had about 24 pots on
the right side and about 16 big pots on the left side.  The soup pots were kept on the right, while
those containing eba, pounded yam, rice, beans and amala were stationed on the left.  At any given time, we had at least a dozen
women pounding yam.

The Sunny Alade family

Somewhere
in our house, my mother kept basket of food items waiting to be consumed by Kaka’s
men.  Curiously, my appetite was the
exact opposite of the abundance around me. 
I simply ate little.  I have not
been able to adequately explain why my appetite is poor.  Sometimes, I blame it on nature because it
runs in my family.  Today, my appetite is
better than it was as a child, when I sometimes forgot to eat. And when I ate,
I forgot to drink water”.
(Excerpts
from the book; KSA: My Life, My Music by
King Sunny Ade. Read “How KSA became a school drop-out” tomorrow
on this blog
)

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