By Jibril Musa
There is someone who knows Majek Fashek well enough to give an insight to his grace-to-grass story. His cousin and former band mate, they grew up together. They once shared dreams of reggae greatness. No one could have known Majek better than Amos McRoy, last name Osifo, now pastor of Seed of Abraham International Christian Centre. The reggae artiste-turned-gospel singer also doubles as producer and CEO of Fresh Dew Studio. In this 2011 interview exclusively granted to Entertainment Express Pastor Amos debunked the general notions attributing his cousin’s plight to drugs and alcoholism. His is indeed the real McCoy as far as the true story of Majek goes. Here again, we reprised what we regard as the “The Amos McRoy Revelation.”
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The Man Majek
This year (2015) Majek is 55. Really, he doesn’t know his exact date of birth. Because his father and mother gave him conflicting months, he decided to adopt Bob Marley’s date of birth. His father was from Ilesha, his mother from Benin. His late mother was related to my father. So, Majek is my cousin. We grew up together in Benin City. His parents lived apart. Majek lived in Lagos with his father, schooling at Aladura Primary School, Anthony Village. He was 10 when his father died and he came to live with his mother in Benin. He attended New Era College. He was a good footballer, good in athletics, and also did a little bit of amateur Kung fu. Majek was likeable, a sociable young man, who had no problem integrating into the Benin society. Though, till now, he is not very fluent in Edo language. Majek never quarreled; but he really can argue, especially when he knew he was right about an issue. We all attended The Church of the Lord Aladura. His earliest musical influence came from the church. We were both in the choir. Majek started first as a trumpeter. Later, I taught him to play the guitar. There was an anniversary whereby women in the church sprayed me with money while I was playing the guitar. That day, he said to me “You don steal the show o. I no dey play trumpet again, this guitar na me and you go play am”. That was how he started playing the guitar.
While in Lagos, he was in the children choir of The Church of the Lord Aladura, Anthony Village. In Benin, he composed songs for the choir. He was very good. He composed his songs in English. He was a brilliant student, but a habitual truant. He used to leave home for school with another dress hidden inside his school bag. Once out of sight, he changed out of his uniform. We both hanged around NTA Benin untill the opportunity came and we started performing in about four different programmes, notably Music Panorama. At the time, Majek was 15 years old.
The Years in the Church
We were all born into the Church of the Lord Aladura. His father called him Majekodunmi (literally, “let me not be pained”) for a reason I don’t know. Probably his earlier siblings died before him. He doesn’t have a middle Christian name. On his mother’s side, he has two elder brothers. Till date, if you ask Majek, he will still tell you “Church of the Lord is my church.” Whether he is in full control of his faculty or not, there is always a message in his songs. Things like that are not what you pick on the streets. You could go to school to polish talent, but you don’t go to school to acquire talents. Talent is a gift from God. And that gift manifested right from when he was in the church. Majek used to preach, not necessarily in the main service, but especially during youth programmes or other less prominent church activities. He preached in English. He was a very active member of the church. Apart from belonging to the choir, we were both members of Band of Love. We were arrowheads of both groups as well as the youth ministry. Sometimes, Majek was the lead singer for certain events. We fasted as the spirit directed. We could just decide that “Let’s go on a seven-day dry fasting next week.” Seven days fasting without food or water. And within those days, we received divine revelations. In the Church of the Lord, people with spiritual gifts – speaking in tongues, visions and dreams – belonged to the Army of Jesus Band. We were contemplating to join when we left Benin for Lagos. Majek was very godly those days when we were growing up in the church. He wouldn’t hurt nor offend anyone. He was not shy of saying “I am sorry” if he made mistake. There was never a complaint against him in the church. He did not mess around with girls. He had a clean record. The church still remembers him for that. He didn’t smoke, and at the early stage of his success, he was not into marijuana. Back then, Majek was someone that would take a bottle of small Guinness and would be in stupor for almost two days. He didn’t give a hoot about money. That was his nature from the beginning. When promoters came, he would say “Amos abeg, make u na go discuss with these people”. If we told him of money coming, his standard reply was: “Then share the money”.
To be continued tomorrow…