Female Drummer and Mom, Ara, Opens up on the Lessons Learnt From Her Mom About Loving a Man

One of Africa’s leading female drummers and singers, Aralola Olumuyiwa popularly known as Ara, meaning style, described her marriage to her ex-husband, Prince Nurudeen Olalekan Saliu, as her “greatest undoing”, some years ago.

In a recent chat with Sunday Sun, Ara who has son with her estranged husband before the duo parted spoke about her mum, her impact in her life and also, her relationship with her son.

Can you tell us about your mum?

My mum is a very wonderful woman. Like all mothers should be, she is a mother who takes everything about her children seriously.

Of course she wouldn’t want me to disclose her age. She’s from Ondo town and she’s partly from Oyo. she’s a descendant of the Alaafin of Oyo. My mother is from a very big family. Her name is Alhaja Kudirat Olamuyiwa.

What major lesson did you learn from her growing up?

My mum is an extremely hard working woman who never takes ‘no’ for an answer. Whenever she wants to go for something she goes for it; she doesn’t care what you say as long as she’s focused on getting that thing done she goes for it. She’s very hardworking, very protective of her family and she loved my father to a fault.

I learnt the art of loving a man without any inhibition. She loved my father’s family without any inhibition and she was the one that taught me that when you love a man you love even his dog and even the flies in his house and you will treat them with respect. I learnt that from my mum. She can cook. I’m a fantastic cook. There’s nothing I can’t cook. I can cook grass and it will taste fine. I learnt all that from my mum.

Is there anything about her that you don’t like?

I will not say I don’t like anything about anyone because we all have something different about us that may not go down well with the next person. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made; we just need to learn to adapt and tolerate one another. So, I don’t bother to see anything wrong in her.

Fashion wise is there anything you learnt from her?

My mum knows how to put things together. She was and she is still fashionable. She’s very fashionable and beautiful too. Her makeup is excellent and she has this love for beads. Maybe because she grew up in Warri and she’s a princess and all of that. She loves beads a lot.

How many children has she got and does she have a favourite?

We are four. No. I know that what affects one affects all. The way she will react to the first is the way she will react to the last. Then all her daughter in- laws you will never know that they are not her biological daughters.

What’s the relationship between your mum and your son?

I’m blessed he has a cordial relationship with my mum. They are very close. Before I left my house today, I was eating with my mum, my son came he hugged me and said mum I love you. That’s how he hugged her too. They have very good relationship.

Did she come around to assist you in taking care of him when you had your son?

I had my baby in the United States. She was not around. But immediately I came back she took over.

What’s her favourite dish that you like ?

There’s a way she fries her stew with palm oil. There’s a way she will fry the oil and then put croaker fish, Cray fish and everything in it. She will now put ogiri in the stew.

As a matter of fact that is what she is cooking right now at home as I’m talking to you. It’s very delicious with rice.

You will perceive the aroma from distance. She cooks that stew every Sunday.

Is she an Alhaja?

Yes. My dad was an Alhaji. My mum was a Christian but out of love she became a Muslim because of my dad.

On her ex husband, Ara once said,
No, I didn’t ask God for my ex-husband. At that point in time, I didn’t see any need to ask and that was the greatest mistake of my life. You walked into it with your eyes shut? Yes, I did. You were at the peak of your career and all of a sudden one heard that you were getting married and nothing was heard of the guy before.
There’s so much I can’t talk about on the pages of newspapers. But at that time, some things were programmed and you can’t walk away from it. The major thing was that I was leaving things with my management for years and was shielded from the world. I had no friend, I didn’t socialize.
And I wasn’t allowed to do so not because I didn’t want to. Even my parents did not have easy access to me during that time. It was that bad. At a point, I was told he was the best for me, that nobody loved me and wished me well, that the only person that wished me well was my management.
And of course, I bought the story. It got to a point that my mother fought her way back into my life as she refused to go and I  really appreciated her coming into my life at that point in time.  I tried dating during that period but it didn’t click.
This guy was somebody I’d dated between 1994 and 1995 before he left the country. He messed  up in the process, causing our  break up. Later, he returned to me and I forgave him. But he messed up again and I forgave him again.
After a while, he left Nigeria and I told myself that I was done with the relationship. But it then came to a point, when I needed a shoulder to lean on and he was the only one who could stand the pressure from my management.
So, I found in him a friend again, somebody  I could naturally share my problems with. But naturally, he would never have been my choice in terms of my kind of man.
It happened that he was the only one around me at that time I could talk to because I realized a lot of things went wrong with my management deal and set up. So, naturally, I gravitated towards him.
So I married him out of sympathy. That was part of it but there’s more to it that I can’t talk about. It hurts for one reason because I never prayed for my child to come from a broken home.
I regretted the marriage and everything but I don’t regret my son. My son came to me at a time I needed someone of mine. But now, he can’t see his dad the way I would have wanted him to because I’m separated from his dad.

I wouldn’t say we are good friends at the moment, but we tolerate each other because sometimes he needs to speak with his son and I wouldn’t deny him access to the boy. Recently, he had another baby from another woman and I cut off from him totally because this is Nigeria and I need to protect my son and myself.

I’ve been the sole provider for my son.

 

 

 

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