SPRAGGETT ON CHESS
Married more than 130 times…still going strong at age 92. This in a country where it is difficult to live past 50!
Clearly, Akuku had little time for chess…
He has divorced more than 85 women (because they were unfaithful to him!). “I showed the door to those who misbehaved,” he says. He remained with 45 wives. However, 16 of them have since died. Today, he lives with 29.
Lessons from the king of polygamy
Who is Akuku?
Some call him danger, some the King of Polygamy but to me Akuku Danger is a grandfather, a loving family man and an epitome of good management practices. His story has been told over and over but, for us family members, he is a pillar of strength and a source of inspiration.
How big is your family?
Akuku married a record 130 wives but divorced more than half of them and reclaimed his dowry. Some 45 women are settled in his three homes, with their houses dotting villages of Aora Chudho, Ndhiwa and Alendu in Nyatike constituency. He has over 300 children and more than 400 grandchildren. Most men would not manage a family this size. Bringing up an abnormally big family was not an easy task, but Akuku has successfully and productively handled the unit. I see a lot of management skills in this.
Does he rule with an iron fist?
Akuku generally was a bureaucrat. He believed in centralised power and he was the centre. The ultimate authority rested with him and all the wives and the children could not do anything without getting permission from him.
Was there any family planning?
Akuku was a good planner. In as much as he married so many wives, rarely would you find one of the wives having more than four children. Akuku knew the value of education and, because paying school fees for over 100 children proved to be an uphill task, he educated the first-born of every wife, and left the responsibility of educating the younger siblings to them. Today, my grandfather is a proud father of doctors, lawyers, teachers, businessmen and businesswomen, among others. He is always interested in getting an update on the level of education his grandchildren have acquired.
What’s the story behind the shorts and his dress style?
Everyone is talking of branding. Akuku is blessed with a stature that would be every man’s envy, standing at 2.1 metres. His fashion statement complements his physique. He is a man of style and his combo consists of khaki shorts, knee high socks, white shirt and a tie or neck scarf and, of coursea parted haircut. Occassionally, he will don a Stetson hat. The man is a freak when it came to cleanliness and ensures that his wives keep his white shorts spotless.
What drew the women?
The Akuku brand really sold. One thing that comes out anytime I talk with my grandmothers is that the reason they never minded getting married to a man who already had so many wives is his style. His style was irresistible and his words slick — he knew how to make women feel great and important. Several of his wives recommended him to their sisters and nieces, and he married them too.
What’s Akuku’s trick?
His convincing power was amazing. Though never formally educated, Akuku would have made one of the best sales people in the modern world.
This explains how he managed to establish a business empire for himself, ranging from matatu business, tailoring, general trading and farming.
Akuku with his first wife, Dinah. Married in 1939. His latest wife is barely 20.
He was a n active, witty man and boasts of never failing to win any woman he wooed. This earned him the name — Danger. He says that he was very witty and men would give up on any lady they noticed he liked as no one could win over him.
Is Akuku’s a role model today?
Akuku Danger is revered as a hero and an icon of the Luo cultural practices, not because he married many wives but because of how successfully he managed to bring up a very abnormally huge polygamous family. He is to many a role model and people keep referring to him on how to keep stable marriages. He puts a caveat for the young people though — he was a successful businessman and could take care of the many wives. He advises that polygamy equals more family responsibilities for a man. He does not advise any young person to emulate him: Not with the current HIV and Aids menace.
”I married those who I lost my heart for.”
FROM THE GRANDMASTER POLYGAMIST’S MOUTH
- ” I have never failed to win a woman’s heart. I know what to tell them and make them laugh. I know how to draw them closer. This has been my art,”
SPRAGGETT ON CHESS