I had feelings for my eventual hubby even as mere friends –Kaffy
Kafayat Shafau-Ameh, earned a coveted spot in the Guinness Record Book in 2006 for a three-day dancing streak. Better known as Kaffy, she dwells on her career, record-breaking feat and more in this interview with ADEDAYO ODULAJA.
The signs seem obvious but how much of a tom boy were you growing up?
I was naturally a tomboy, even up till now but when I want to dress like a lady, I do and people see me as one.
You can see me tomorrow wearing ‘Iro and Buba’ and see me another day in a mini skirt.
People often attempt to go one better after one record or another, is that likely for you?
Yes, if my son is dying and they say it is the only way he could survive. You think it is easy to do again? I need an incentive that is stronger than money to attempt it again.
The incentive cannot be breaking it again to prove that I can break it.
Then, dance was nowhere and Nigeria was getting bad press because of the regime.
I had reasons to nearly die for something, I nearly died. It was not funny and the recovery stage took weeks as well.
Remember I danced for three days and during completion, people were dropping out.
I knew I must not lose seven members of my team yet I did not know their abilities and fitness levels. We formed dance competitions and many things just to engage everyone.
The moment you take a break, they would count a few seconds for you to continue or go out. It was Ramadan period, I fasted for the first night but no way could I have continued unless I wanted to die. During the exercise, time seemed so slow.
So what was the recovery process like for you?
It was terrible. After the competition, I did not feel my legs again.
We left the floor like zombies; you k n o w we all had to l e a v e at the same time.
When I went home, I got a nurse to come and give me vitamins but they couldn’t see veins, I couldn’t sleep for three weeks. Even days after competition, I realised that I was still dancing unnecessarily. The day sleep came I was on a motorcycle on Victoria Island, Lagos.
I slept off on the bike, I was seated in-between and they had to stop and we took a taxi.
When I got home, I slept for almost three days. I was only able to sleep well from a month after the event.
The organisers didn’t help us too; they only gave us Lucozade and other energy drinks the third day. They gave us coffee the first day and some people who took drugs started reacting in a funny way which got them disqualified.
As an African, it’s not the norm for women to marry younger men. Did that worry you about your husband when you guys met?
He did not toast me. We were just friends; he was in my friend zone before we developed feelings f o r each other. I noticed that I began to feel jealous when a random girl sat on his laps.
I cannot say I was complaining, but it happened. Do you want to tell me maturity comes with age? My husband displayed attributes that I expected from an older man.
I never knew his age until we started dating because he didn’t act his age.
A lot of younger men do better in a relationship with older women. The relationship is better managed because some men cannot align with the thoughts of younger girls.
Mostly, older women are on the same level with them mentally. The Bible says he who finds a wife, finds a good thing. Finding means that you are seeking for certain things and you are looking for a way to find it.
When you find it, you obtain favour. For me, God never defined it from the angle of age, but from the angle of companionship, mind-set and what makes us become one. Knowing yourselves has nothing to do with age.
With your busy schedule, do you still find time to cook?
As far as I am home and I am not too tired, I cook. Whenever I am tired, my nanny does the cooking.
But when my husband wants me to cook, I do it. He does not like any other person cooking for him.
Which of talent and luck would you point to as most significant in your growth as a dancer?
I’d choose the word – blessed and filled with grace. My talent is not nearly as good as some people’s neither is my luck the best in the world, but I am filled with grace and I can identify God’s hand in my life. If the little I know can make me take over the world, it tells you that it can only be God. For me, I am just blessed and filled with God’s grace.
Why does it seem dancers are more divided than united?
Dancers are not unified truly because there are no structures in place.
That is why it was stupid of the boy to stand up against me when I spoke bitterly about Davido last year because I was fighting a cause for dancers.
If he had a personal beef with me, he should not come on air and speak against me when I was fighting for a general cause.
Davido insulted his industry and he backed him up. I have not forgotten about the boy; I am waiting for him. He would reap what he sowed.
He lacks understanding; if he understood what he did he would understand he spat on the face of an entire industry. We need to protect one another even though we do not like one another.
What went wrong between you and Davido?
When I hired American-based dancers for Davido and he treated them unprofessionally, I had to voice out.
I had no personal problems with Davido and he had no mind to disrespect me personally.
But he disrespected a business transaction, which got me annoyed and the stupid boy opened his mouth based on what he heard. I did not even know him until that day.
I do not need him to apologise because the industry would show him how wrong he was to go against it.
With the forthcoming dance workshop, we are trying to portray unity as well. If the elders are united, it would help the young too because some of the problems are from the top.
All because we like to gather followers on time, we talk against one another.
If you are fighting and you are rich, it is okay. When you are fighting and you are poor, it is bad.
Despite being the almighty Kaffy, I don’t have money to buy a Prado Jeep of my choice and you expect me to be fighting the younger ones? So, I think the beef is uncalled for.
The fight for supremacy is just about one person trying to tell someone that he or she dances better.
We need to understand that progress of a brand has nothing to do with your skill or talent. It has everything to do with your attitude towards work.
Are there no dance associations?
There is Guild of Nigerian Dancers and there is one I plan to establish too.
Having an association does not mean it has been functioning enough to unite dancers. But I think things will change soon.
If one dancer is blacklisted for misbehaving, nobody should be able hire him or her if there are structures.
Beyond being passionate about dance, you seem really passionate about the dance industry as a whole
Yes I am and the truth is that if we don’t start to put things in place, we might fade out of existence in the next decade, and Nigerian dancers might not be getting jobs again.
People abroad are very aware of afro-beats and some even dance it better than we do. Before we know it, our artistes would begin to hire dancers abroad.
Nigerian dancers need to realise that this is a job and they should stop the self-entitlement and take every job seriously like it was their first for continuity sake. We need to understand business management and development.
The Dance Workshop would enable dancers evolve into dance brands.
You need to give back to your craft, industry and people. Don’t just beef Kaffy because you believe you can dance better than she does?
There are a lot of people that can dance better than I can, but how can they develop into brands? This is one of the tools I want to use to expose our dance culture to the world.
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