By Omoniyi Salaudeen and Onyedika Agbedo The agitation for the restructuring of the country is on a high momentum at the moment. It has indeed dominated issues of national discourse in recent weeks. The current tide, no doubt, stemmed from the need to tame the spate of hate speeches and separatist agitations currently threatening the…
By Christy Anyanwu
Dr. Tee Mac Omatshola Iseli (MFR) is a multi-talented Nigerian flutist of Itsekiri and Swiss background. With a rich musical career spanning over 40 years, Tee Mac formed numerous bands including Tee Mac Afro Collection in the 1970s with notable Nigerian artistes and he was president of Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN). He spoke about his mum recently in this interview with Sunday Sun.
Could you tell us about your mum?
My mum was a wonderful lady.
Her maiden name was Susanna Gray Fregene from the Omatseye royal family of Itsekiri land. She was half Itsekiri, half Scottish. My mother was the half sister of Chief Okotie Eboh.
Where is your mum now?
She died in 2002 when I was on a tour of China but I came home and gave her a befitting funeral. There were about 3,000 family members from Warri and from other parts of the world that attended her funeral. She was buried in a private cemetery at Lekki.
What do you miss about your mum?
She was a loving woman. Anytime a baby was born in the family, I made sure mummy was flown to either England or Switzerland where she spent two or three months helping my sister bathing their babies. She was passionate about babies and especially her grandchildren. My mum wasn’t too happy that I had three children but to me, that was enough. She loved pets and cooked fantastic Itsekiri food. For many years, I only came home for Christmas and she made sure she cooked me my vegetarian food.
I don’t eat meat. I stopped eating meat since 1970. Occasionally, I eat fresh fish and banga soup. I built two duplexes. She lived in one side while I lived at the other side, so that I could take care of her and when I traveled she could take care of my estate.
What made her happy when she was alive?
She was always happy when I called her and said I would be back home. Sometimes, I just flew in from wherever I was in the world for some few days between concerts. I could afford to fly anytime. Sometimes, I just came once a month to spend the weekend with her and she was very happy to see me.
I bought her favourite perfume, cream as well as clothes. All kinds of things. I took care of her very well, at least in the last 18 years of her life.
No doubt, you cared about her and loved her but was that ever a cause of friction between her and your wives or girlfriends?
Not at all. She loved whoever was my wife or girlfriend.
What made her sad?
I don’t know. She was not a woman who could be sad, as I made sure she wasn’t. She had everything she needed and I regularly sponsored her to see my sisters in England and Switzerland once or twice a year, just to make sure she was comfortable.
What was her advice to you?
She told me to be hardworking and that there was no other way to be successful. She always said ‘You are a prince and you have to live up to that standard.”