Reggae star Majek Fashek’s illness So long, Too long



Reggae star Majek Fashek’s woes seem unending. He is in London battling to get money to live a healthy life, writes Dupe Ayinla-Olasunka

Reggae star Majekodunmi Fasheke, aka Majek Fashek, has been in and out of one hospital or rehabilitation centre in recent times. In the past few weeks, he has been hospitalised at Queen’s Hospital, London for a serious illness. He got ill last month and was flown to London on August 24 after a brief admission at St. Nicholas Hospital, Lagos. The singer is said to be in need of funds to cater for feeding, transportation among other expenses.

His Manager Uzoma Day Omenka confirmed that the singer, who is famous for his Send Down The Rain, told The Nation that: “The condition some days back is different from today. There is a little improvement and he should be able to walk soon. The prayers are also working. It is a very critical sickness since we came in and we have been managing. We have been moving from one hospital to another.

“I owe a lot in Lagos because I have had to take a lot of undertaking for some of his treatments. We are at Queens Elizabeth Hospital and the treatment is ongoing. Just a little bit of improvement. We need prayers from well-wishers and those who have supported us before now. We are appreciative of all that is being done for Majek.


“But at this period, we are in dire need of fund and whatever comes in will be used for his health care. A notable Nigerian came to our aid and paid part of the bill. But, we need funds for feeding, clothing, transportation and others. So far, I only have N40, 000, which was sent to us recently. It is not even up to a hundred pounds. That is what I have for now.”

Omenka went on: “It is a really bad experience and it is really painful. A journey of six hours takes about 24 hours because we didn’t have enough money for tickets.

“On the day we left Lagos, it was not a good experience. I was so desperate to make sure that he got out of Nigeria that day considering his condition of health. Majek himself did not know where he was. I had to cover him and I was crying. Carrying him in and taking him to the loo several times was not easy. Singer Waje was in the plan, but some people did not know he was Majek.

“When we got to Dubai, he could not walk or eat for three days and was crying. No help. The Uber we took had to stop on the way. That was where the ambulance came to pick us up. We also had a problem with accommodation. The agency that made arrangement for us started having problems with the owner of the apartment.”

Omenka said when Majek’s case was becoming serious he got his permission to reach out to the public to raise fund.

Continuing, he said: “We had donors, but not many responses yet. I had to start calling on people individually and that was how the news came and video got to the public.  We really need funds. A lady sent money from Canada which I mentioned earlier. We appreciate all the love showed but we need financial support.”

His voice on the xenophobic attacks on Nigerians

He is unhappy about the Nigeria-South Africa crisis. He recalled that he did a song Free Mandela and it helped back then. He pleaded that such song should be played on the Nigerian radio stations at the moment to preach peace and unity.

Majek said he has done so much for Nigeria and pleaded with the government to ensure that Nigerian embassies across the world protect Nigerians wherever they are.

Majek the Rainmaker

Majek Fashek was born on March 7, 1963 in Benin City to an Edo mother and a Yoruba father but identifies with his Benin root. His various translations of his name Fasheke (Ifa-Kii-she-eke) include “high priest who does not lie”, “powers of miracles” and “(system or medium of) divination does not lie”. After his parents separated, Fashek remained in Benin City with his mother and joined the choir in his local Aladura Church and learned to play the trumpet and guitar whilst composing songs for the choir.

In the early eighties Fashek, who at the time went by the stage name Rajesh Kanal, joined the group Jastix with McRoy Gregg, and was lead singer for Black Rice. They were best known as the in-house band on the show Music Panorama on NTA Benin City and toured with fellow reggae group The Mandators. Jaxstix was also session musicians for upcoming reggae singer Edi Rasta, who would later be known as Evi-Edna Ogholi.

In 1988, shortly after Jastix disbanded Fashek, who now used the name Majek Fashek, signed with Tabansi Records and began a solo career by releasing the album Prisoner of Conscience and became Nigeria’s top reggae artist after the song Send Down The Rain became the most popular song of the year. In 1989, he won six PMAN awards, which included Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Reggae Artist of the Year. Fashek’s next album was I&I Experience, which was released in late 1989 under the Tabansi record label.

After leaving Tabansi Records, he was signed to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s and released So Long Too Long. In 1990 he was signed to Interscope Records and released the critically acclaimed album Spirit Of Love, produced by “Little Steven” Van Zandt.

In 1992, he appeared on Late Night with David Letterman in support of his new 1991 album and performed the song So Long Too Long for the television audience. Flame Tree released The Best of Majek Fashek in 1994.

He was later dropped by Interscope before moving to Mango, a division of Island Records, as it was more accustomed to marketing reggae internationally. His first album for the company included a cover version of Bob Marley’s Redemption Song. He has recorded several albums for various labels since, including Rainmaker for Tuff Gong (1997) and Little Patience for Coral (2004).

Fashek played a supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood movie Mark of the Beast and starred in a commercial for non-alcoholic beverage Diamant. He recently (2016) performed in a comedy show (with more than ten thousand audiences in attendance) in Lagos, Nigeria, with a roundly power-filled and soul-lifting performance.

In 2015, it was revealed that Fashek was bankrupt and battling drug addiction. After admitting that he needed help, he was admitted into a drug rehabilitation center in Abuja where he is currently recovering. Majek has since recovered and he is back to making music. In December 2016 Fashek contributed the song “We Are Not Afraid” to a video featuring 200 celebrities to raise funds for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Fashek was married to Rita Fashek who inspired the song Without You; the couple had four children but has since divorced. In 2015, it was revealed that Fashek was bankrupt and battling drug addiction. After admitting that he needed help, he was admitted into a drug rehabilitation centre in Abuja where he recovered.

Some of his musical works include Prisoner of Conscience that featured multiple award-winning tracks Send Down The Rain (1988), Little PatienceSpirit of LoveI & I ExperienceSo long too longRainmakerWeep Not Children and Rasta Ganstar.

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