Today, May 5, 2020 is her 59th birthday.
Of course, congratulatory messages have inundated her timeline on social media.
Also celebrating, the Waka Queen took to Instagram and wrote:
“Alihamidulilahi oo, modupe modupe… thanking Almighty Allah for another year. HAPPY BIRTHDAY to me. Please rejoice with me my family.
When contacted by Kemi Ashefon, Alhaja Salawa Abeni, was all grateful to God for sparing her life till date. That she is alive to celebrate her cirthday today is solely by God’s grace.
The musician, who began her professional career in Waka music in 1976, was the first female act to sell over a million copies in Nigeria.
Her debut album, titled, “General Murtala Ramat Mohammed,” was released by Leader Records.
Queen Salawa would not forget how she was struck by an ailment in 2008.
She revealed that this aliment kept her bedridden for six years.
She said, “I was ill for like five or six years. It started in 2008 and I didn’t recover until six years after. I was not performing on stage and other social events. I could not think of work because I could not walk—I was paralysed.”
Now back to her feet and waxing strong, Salawa would never forget helpers who stood with her in time of need.
Recounting her encounter with the late Fuji maestro, Alhaji Ayinde Barrister, Salawa said she wept profusely when the deceased paid her a visit while she was in her sick bed.
“There was Alhaji Ayinde Barrister, who was a pillar of support for me. I called and told him, ‘Dad, I slept and woke up seeing myself this way.’ Immediately, he requested for my home address after the call. He came to my house and immediately he entered, I started weeping. Alhaji Barrister then said, ‘Ibiwunmi, don’t cry because I know you would be the one to bury me, not the other way round.’ Alhaji died before I became well again.
However, the father-daughter love between us has extended to his children, who love me to bits. He was a good father.”
In the same vein, she would not forget the death of her son, Lanre.
“The illness started when I lost Lanre. I lost everything with him— the volumes 1- 15 of my LPs are still with his late father’s recording company and none is ready to release them to me. His death was a big blow. I didn’t know I would survive. He was the only bond between his late father, Lati Adepoju, and I. After his death, I started having high blood pressure and then other symptoms cropped up. In my sick bed, I knew I would not die because my late mum, who was alive then would pray for me and say I would be the one to bury her and not vice versa. She died two years ago at 98 years old.”
Of course, it was a tough time for Queen Salawa and her kids.
Now back and restored to her bubbly self, the musician, who bought a mansion in Omole, Lagos where she now lives recalled:
“Yes, it was. I started to sing as a teenager and I had hustled, suffered and when I was about feeding fat on the proceeds of my labour, the devil struck. I prayed and kept telling God that He should allow me eat the fruits of my labour. At a point, everything was exhausted including money. I sold cars, house and everything—I just wanted to be well again. That was when I started calling people to give me money. Some responded, some didn’t and would ignore my call. They were like, ‘Salawa is ill, she needs money, that’s why she is calling.’ I cried but I kept trusting God. It was a trying period but I thank God, who stood and still stands by me. I was down, I was out, I was pauperised but God saw me through. My prayer today is that no parents would lose any child in their lifetime. Any parents (s) that has (have) experienced it, may Allah comfort us all and not allow such happen again.”