Six years after the death of the great Billionaire, international businessman and diplomat, Amb. Deinde Fernandez, his family has not said a word about his life and times. But one of his daughters, UK-based Princess Antoinette, has decided to speak exclusively to The Boss and she extolled the virtues of her late dad and mother, Erelu of Lagos, Princess Abiola Dosunmi. Enjoy…
Princess Antoinette Oyinkansola Fernandez is Antonio Deinde Fernandez’s third youngest daughter and his only child with HRH Abiola Dosunmu, Erelu Kuti IV of Lagos. She works in the creative industries and is currently based in the UK.
The last six years since my father’s passing have been filled with the sadness for the loss of my father as well as what feels like a besmirching of his legacy.
After all this is the man who is famed as being one of the first Nigerian Industrialists as well as an inspirational politico. My father brushed shoulders and became firm friends with the likes of Fidel Castro, JFK, Malcolm X, as well as Mandela and Kofi Annan, to name but a few.
As with many Nigerian families, I have been faced with unfortunate inheritance complications, a painful and traumatising experience, made all the more so for being under the public gaze. But there is a lesson here in that it is important to learn from past mistakes. Money is a great corruptor and it is essential that not just Nigerian, but African money does not end up in the hands of others. We need to invest in our own families, people and countries, and must do everything possible to uphold that, lest we hand it over to people who have already exploited our continent to the point of famine and poverty.
My father was a bold and bloody minded adventurer, as well as a savvy business man. He once said to me that you have to be prepared to risk everything in order to gain everything, advice that he clearly followed and mastered. As he made his first million astutely dealing with exploitative and racist business men, whilst working for the UN in the U.S at a time when Jim Crow laws – black and white segregation – were still going strong.
As we make our way in an increasingly globalised world, it has never been more important for Nigerians and people of African descent to commemorate our pioneers, to uncover and explore their achievements. For in celebrating them, we celebrate ourselves, we say loudly that we know who we are, where we come from, and have a solid base from which to improve on the efforts of our ancestors.
It is my deeply held belief that Black women should endeavour to uphold and support each other. In a world where the odds are still very much against us, we need to protect and look out for one another, regardless of what there is to gain by doing otherwise.
I am currently developing a film that will uncover and explore my father’s extraordinary life, and it is my hope that it will be a project that Nigerians and people of African descent everywhere, will find not just informative, but also uplifting and reaffirming.
Social media handles: Instagram – @antoinettetoinette and Twitter – a4antoinette