Famed internationally for his practice of extreme polygamy, 94 year old Acentus Akuku, aka “Danger”, kicked the bucket on October 3 in Kenya after having been married 130 times and fathering nearly 300 children.
In a country where life expectancy does not exceed 54 years, Acentus Akuku’s life story is one that is almost surreal. Famous for getting married 130 times and fathering nearly 300 children, the absolute ladies man died Sunday at age 94.
His nickname “Danger” was coined because according to him “I overshadowed many men when it came to women.” He was a danger to those men who were not smart enough to get married before he came to town.
Akutu “Danger” was from the Ndhiwa District, 370 km west of Nairobi, not far from Lake Vitoria. Polygamy is widespread among the Luo tribe who live in this region of Kenya.
Polygamy has a special status in the predominantly Christian country. Banned by the constitution, polygamy is only tolerated by the country’s customary laws.
Having 130 wives is undeniable an ego booster. I was very handsome. “I dressed well and I knew how to charm women with sweet talk. No woman could decline my advances. I was a magnet” he once said.
But his over-sized ego did not prevent him from looking over his shoulder to make sure other men were not getting too close to his bevy of ladies. “I had spies attached to each home. They briefed me on how each woman went about her business in my absence,” he admitted.
The man is known to have divorced 85 of his wives for being unfaithful. And according to him “With the threat of HIV and Aids, I had to be strict with the conduct of each woman.” He said the 85 women “posed a serious risk” to his life.
But apart from taking advantage of the situation what else could he do with 300 children? “Danger” ran his family as a business enterprise. Dowries paid for by his daughters’ would be husbands was a serious affair.
With his family, came great power. Over time he built a small business empire; a taxi company run by his sons. And most small businesses in his community, eventually, came to be held by his offspring.
Africa’s most celebrated polygamist did not wait for an epitaph on his grave to make history. A true legend, he was listened to, consulted and respected. Famous and celebrated, his reputation went beyond the shores of his native Kenya.
Indeed, Acentus Akuku whose polygamous “odyssey” began with his first marriage in 1939 and ended with his last marriage to 18 year old Josephine in 1997 at the youthful age of 81, would be remembered.