‘I visit her grave and tell her what I’ve been up to’
‘I have suitors, but I’ve not found my dream man’
ALMOST one year after Taiwo, one half of the Oshadipe twins passed on, Kehinde is still in shock.
In this exclusive interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s Associate Editor, UCHE OLEHI, Taiwo’s twin sister reveals to us what life has been without her inseparable wombmate, best friend and labelmate.
The single lady who would add a year on September 16 also unveiled her plans for Taiwo’s one-year remembrance.
Though, Kehinde made some more revelations on the circumstances surrounding her sister’s sudden death on Friday, October 3, 2014, she was silent on the paternity of her sister’s 2-year old son, Obama.
October 3, 2015 would be a year your twin sister, Taiwo passed on. And you still miss her?
Of course, I miss her every minute and every day. It still feels like yesterday. I miss everything about her But I wish I could just hear her husky voice once again, the way she calls my name first before saying what she wants on the phone.
Almost twelve months on, what are those virtues or attributes of hers you remember and cherish most?
I cherish all of her virtues, she’s very hardworking and disciplined and she is a cheerful giver. I’m trying to emulate that. I give but Taiwo gives more than I do and people who are close to us can testify to that.
So, how have you been coping without your beloved twin sister, partner and label mate?
I believe in staying strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I always try to occupy myself because I notice that it’s when I’m idle I get really depressed. It’s not easy at all without her, and like you know we’re multi-talented artistes…music, drama and now I’m a producer and there’s also an NGO. The ultimate responsibility is our son. The dream makes me so restless…I hardly sleep.
Are there strange things you do in remembrance of Taiwo?
I don’t think I do anything strange. Just that I smell her wig, her clothes, I hold our son’s hands at night to sleep…I still have most of her clothes.
Do you still communicate with her?
Yes! Anytime I visit her grave side, I sit there for like an hour narrating what has been happening…who did what and when. And even in the car sometimes, I feel her presence and in my mind too, I feel like a part of her is in me.
You had some projects together before her demise, how have you been going about them?
Yes! One of our dream projects is to go round Nigerian campuses to inspire youths. We were even discussing it on her hospital bed. We had a dream of a TV show entitled, ‘Oshadipe Twins on Campus,’ a students’ lifestyle and entertainment program and I’ve been trying to actualize it. Currently, I’ve recorded nothing less than 10 episodes of it, visiting schools like UNILAG, Yabatech, MAPOLY, U.I etc… I’m partnering with Wale Adenuga Productions Television on the project. I changed the name to ‘Campusbits with the Oshadipe Twins.’ The program has started airing on WAPTV on Star Times (Channel 112). It’s every Thursday by 7 p.m.
Couldn’t things have been easier for you if Taiwo was around?
Yes o! Taiwo spoilt me when she was around. I was so dependent on her and she often joked, ‘That I don’t know what will become of you Kenny if you don’t have a twin? I never knew she was giving me hints, I just thought she was trying to feel good about herself.
Though she’s irreplaceable, who has been the most helpful in her absence?
The next person close to it is our son. But even at that, I still know that nobody can replace Taiwo. He’s really helped me to be strong and to try move on. My sisters and friends also tried to stay around and make me cheerful when they can, but thinking about the person that will be like Taiwo to me…I don’t think that person exists or has been created by God! Nobody! Nobody…
Can you please, tell us how her kid, Obama is doing?
He’s a very cheerful, happy boy…he’s the sweetest thing I know after God. He’s doing great! He would be 2 this year.
How would you mark his birthday?
He will mark his birthday with his friends at school.
What do you usually tell him if he asks about his mum?
He doesn’t ask about his mum. I’m his mum, he only tells me I’ll tell my mummy and he says that to everyone, even his grandpa and ma.
Has the family finally, revealed the father of Taiwo’s love child?
Is that not the best thing to do to forestall further rumour-mongering?
Were you and the rest of the Oshadipes disturbed by the controversy surrounding the paternity of her child, back then?
Does your nephew’s biological dad contribute to his upkeep and does he visit him regularly?
Not long ago, you exclusively revealed to ENCOMIUM how Taiwo died. Are there more things or fresh insight you want to share with us?
That was what happened to her.
Yes, we know doctors say it’s LUPUS(SLE), Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, but some also allege there’s more to Taiwo’s untimely death?
We are Africans and a lot of people can insinuate but as far as I know, the doctors told me it was Lupus, and that’s what I know.
So, could it have been spiritual?
I would not say it’s void of spirituality because the world in itself is more of spiritual than physical, but God knows best and I believe Taiwo is in a better place. May God give me the grace to see her when I’m old enough to.
What would you say Taiwo’s death taught you about life?
Taiwo’s death, and my elder brother, Dayo’s, has taught me that life has no meaning and God is the only meaning to life. Most especially, it has humbled me, not like I’m naturally proud but I don’t pay too much attention to frivolities because life is too short. I try to be nice and helpful no matter how little I can. I think we get too worried about what we want to become without realizing how much we have achieved. No matter who you are or where you are, be a shining light, impact people with your little light so that perhaps when you are no longer there they would feel your absence. Now, whatever I want to do, I do it wholeheartedly.
What were her last words before she passed on that fateful Friday, October 3, 2014?
I asked her, ‘How do you feel this morning? And almost breathless…’ She said, ‘I feel better’ maybe because my mom was there and she didn’t want her to be scared.
When and how did you discover Taiwo had LUPUS?
When we got to the Lagos State Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), she was diagnosed through series of tests. This was how we knew she had Lupus.
What efforts were made to save her life?
It was not a question of money…because we did all that the doctors required. It was really a shock it turned out the way it did.
Could you please, remind us of her last days and how you stood by her to the end?
I was with her through the more than six months of her being in and out of hospital…we prayed together. When she was in ICU, I was fasting and praying for her. Whenever she was served her food, she would remain half portion telling the nurses that that’s what I’ll eat after breaking my fast. I slept on the floor sometimes when the hospital wards are full. We would wake up at mid night to pray and read the Bible and also encourage each other…There was a day she was crying, telling everyone that came visiting to thank me, that she would have died if not for my prayers and bravery. And I was like, if I don’t pray and fast for you who else will I do that for?
What about her last wishes and unfulfilled dreams?
So many times we sat together and discuss our vision and dreams…Am really trying to make sure that she lives through me, she shared her dreams and aspirations with me. And by the grace of God, I will achieve them because I know that aside from being answerable to God, I will be accountable to her when we meet again.
We learnt you are marking Taiwo’s one year remembrance in a special way?
Yes! I am, it’s no longer news that I launched an NGO in her honor and in support of humanity. What is new is that I will be walking against Lupus on October 3 with my friends, fans and family to advocate and bring to fore this disease, to promote the research and to support the patients living with it.
So, there would be a walk against LUPUS, the deadly disease that killed her?
Please, tell us how it would go,when and personalities you are expecting?
The walk will take off from LTV Ikeja, Lagos to the Permanent Secretary, the Ministry of Health, Alausa, Ikeja. Time is 8 a.m-12 p.m. Among celebrities who have confirmed their participation are Mercy Aigbe Gentry, Toyin Alausa, Iyabo Ojo, Bimbo Thomas, Moyo Lawal, Yinka Ayefele, Benita Okojie, Nikky Laoye…
You pledged to continue with awareness campaign against LUPUS but nothing much has been heard after your comeback?
After my comeback, I have been campaigning on my social media handles. Those who follow me can testify. I have done several on air and online interviews to sensitize, inform and educate people about Lupus but I can’t do it alone. I have other projects I’m doing but I still give it time.
What’s really the aim of this campaign since your sister is gone?
A lot of people have never heard about Lupus and if we discovered or knew about it earlier, maybe Taiwo would still be here. I think Taiwo being a celebrity will help give the disease the necessary attention it deserves. And if it could take her away, it can also continue to harm people…it is Taiwo now, it can be anyone tomorrow. We should not wait until it becomes a menace, the cure should be speedily discovered. It has no cure yet!
And what’s happening to The Oshadipe Twins Initiative (TOTI)?
It is still at its early stage but I’m really trying to go all out with it. It is registered with the CAC, and there’s a website for it, for more info www.toti.ng. Wednesday, September 16 is our birthday and I intend to spend it at LASUTH with some of my friends and the patients of Lupus. I will be giving out drugs and showing my own support.
What inspired the NGO?
The diagnosis of Taiwo my sister and the fact that we never knew something like that existed before her demise.
What are your plans for TOTI?
My dream of TOTI is to actually have a diagnosis centre named after Taiwo where most people can test for Lupus and also see a councillor and get drugs free. Presently, blood samples to diagnose Lupus are sent to South Africa. We don’t have the equipment here yet! The last time I checked.
Would you say the objective of the foundation is being realised?
We are getting there gradually, it’s still new but I’m undeterred and determined to make it work. And with the support of my very rare trustees…God will see us through, Prof. Femi Adelowo, Yinka Ayefele(MON), Mr. Wale Adenuga (MON), Commodore Jerry Omodara (Retd), Olumide Akinsanya, Ayo Williams…Supported by His and Her Excellency Mimiko, Mr. and Mrs. Kunle Ekundayo (Drugfield Pharmaceuticals Ltd.), I think I’m on the right track.
‘My Reflections,’ the highly emotional tribute song you dedicate to Taiwo is amazing. How did you summon the courage to do it?
I just felt if I goofed, I have disappointed Taiwo and the Oshadipe Twins brand, and I didn’t want that. Some people will just say we never knew how to sing and all that but so many people have applauded me and even think I deserve an award for it.
You are over 30, are suitors coming and are you in a serious relationship?
Yes! Suitors are coming but I’m yet to meet the man of my dreams or close to it.
So, when are you getting married?
I don’t know o! When it is time, I’ll sure let everyone know.
Please, share with us what you want in your man?
He has to accept my son as his, understand my kind of career, be hardworking. I can’t tolerate a lazy man, fears God and comfortable. I don’t pray for a man that will depend on me – smart, intelligent and a free spirit.
You staged a comeback on May 3, 2015. How’s your solo career faring?
So far, it’s been wonderful. Just that I’m so, so busy…the responsibilities of two persons is now on me alone. I am now a mother, a singer, actor, producer and the president of an NGO. But I try to juggle it all because I know how much our musical career means to Taiwo. She was the Oshadipe twin, I’m only the ‘s’ but now I can’t let her and our fans down. I am writing my songs and would be releasing singles soon because shows have been coming. Although, I and Taiwo have songs unreleased, I will like to do something new and fresh.
What should your fans expect from you? When are you releasing your first solo album? What was the first movie you shot after Taiwo’s death?
They should expect something up tempo, inspiring and soul lifting because that’s where my mood is right now. I have not done any movie after her demise deliberately to honor her.
Is performing/acting without your late twin sister a big challenge, especially when your life and career were tied together?
Yes! It is…I will really miss her on stage, she was the lead while I just harmonized her. I will really miss her presence. It’s so sad but God understands. She told me to be strong for her and that’s exactly what I’m doing.
How supportive has been your family, friends and fans?
The family, friends and relative have been very supportive. They call me always and always try to support whatever I want to do, just to make me happy. Some people came to take advantage of my vulnerability after Taiwo’s death but my family and true friends stood by me.
We understand what you’ve gone through. Please, tell us some of the things you used to do together with your sister you can’t do alone right now?
Nothing really but there are certain clothes we have worn together that I no longer want to wear because of the memories and also certain places I avoid, but if I have to, I just summon the courage…I believe I have not truly mourned my sister. The day I will want to do that, that’s the day I’ll die. I just know that I’ve lost an important part of me but I don’t think of the enormity of my loss.
Do you wear some of clothes, costume…?
Yeah! I wear some, but I put her perfume on my son every day, to school, church etc…He smells like her and it’s comforting.
Do you have a kind of archive for some of her very personal effects?
Yes, I do…her clothes are in her wardrobe in her room, here in my house.
Any plan for a charity auction in the future to dispose some of them?
Yes! I actually thought about that but you know we are Nigerians. I don’t know how people here will feel about that but I would have loved to auction some of our clothes we have worn on stage together.
Your mom is still mourning her daughter, how do you step in when she breaks down?
I try to console her and encourage her. She can be inconsolable sometimes…
How many more siblings do you have and what are they doing?
I have two sisters and a brother and they are doing fine.
Taiwo Oshadipe lived for just 30 years. How would you describe her brief stay on earth and how would you want her to be remembered?
She was the kindest, most talented and loving person I know…one of her albatross was that whoever she dated were obsessed with her. However, she didn’t have many dates. But once she starts dating someone they never want to let her go. I want her to be remembered as a sweet person who will never wish anyone evil. She was very peaceful and generous sometimes to a fault.
If you were to write an epitaph, what would you scribe at her tomb?
Taiwo Oshadipe my sister, my best friend and soulmate…the only person I converse with without saying a word and she understands…perfectly! When I am of age and gone, I still want to sleep close to you…to the world you’re one person, to me! You’re the world.
Do you often go to her grave side; what do you usually do and who accompanies you?
Yes! The last time I went alone and I sat down telling her what has happened after she left, playing catch-up like we use to.
When last were you there and when is your next visit?
I was there last in July, I will like to go there this September, maybe after our birthday.
What are Kehinde Oshadipe’s dreams and ultimate ambition?
To actualize the dreams of the Oshadipe Twins, see my son grow to be a fine young man…get married, have children. And always try to be happy.