Akuku Danger| Courtesy
For many who knew him during his lifetime, the name Asentus Akuku ‘Danger’ is synonymous to polygamy.
Call him the grandmaster of seduction if you must because he was Kenya’s most prominent polygamist and is reported to have married more than 100 women in his lifetime and fathered over 200 children.
The rise of “Danger”
Born Asentus Ogwella Akuku, he married his first wife in 1939. At the age of 22, he had married five wives and by the time he was 35, he was on his 45th wife.
His love for polygamy and women earned him the nickname ‘Danger’ from his peers who believed that his every move was made to attract women.
“I’m called Danger because I overshadowed many men when it came to women. 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,” Akuku once told The Standard.
Arguably one of the world’s best-known polygamists, he married his last wife in 1992 when he was 79. The woman was then only 18.
His love for polygamy was no longer a family thing but became an industry as he had so many children in his family that he established two elementary schools solely to educate his children, as well as a church for his growing family to attend.
Akuku The Disciplinarian
Despite his large family, he was reputed to be a disciplinarian who ruled his large family with an iron fist. He knew all the children by name and made a roster on when to spend on which house.
In past interviews, Akuku told local journalists he was responsible for naming all of his children, as way to bond with them.
“I lived a lavish lifestyle. I was always ready to spend money on women.”
“I divorced women who misbehaved,” he once said.
Akuku grouped his families in clusters spreading across Ndhiwa, Homa Bay and Migori. His main homestead or ‘State House’ is however in Rachuodho.
As a rule, one family cannot claim the property in another cluster.
In a chat with Daily Nation, one of Akuku’s wives, Damaris Awiti recalled her time with him.
She had gone to visit her sister Priscah Obumba who had just delivered a child. Priscah was the ninth wife but Damaris began to envy her sister for her ‘catch’ and didn’t waste time in accepting Akuku’s proposal when he asked to marry her as well.
“He was a tall and very handsome man. The tone of his voice was very soothing. I found him irresistible. Furthermore, he had enough wealth, which was every woman’s dream at the time,” Damaris told Daily Nation.
On how the household was run, Damaris said:
“He was a very caring man who would make you feel like the luckiest woman on earth. I loved him very much, and he, too, loved us,” recalls Damaris.
“When I joined the family, I was taught how to live and what roles I would play in the home,”
“One wife, for example, would be assigned the duty of cooking for our husband for a given period. Another would iron his clothes… and so on,” explains Damaris. “That way, we avoided chaos.”
Wives without special duties, Damaris said, would accompany the other family members to the farm, where they worked until evening. After farming, Damaris said every woman would go back to her house with her children and cook for them. Akuku would spend the evening with the wife whose responsibility was to cook for him during that period.
“Mzee did not like lazy, proud and arrogant women. He would warn a woman over a misdemeanour and, if she repeated the same mistake, chase her away. All her children sired by Akuku would remain in the family.”
When a woman had been divorced, says Damaris, Akuku would decide which one of his many wives would take care of the children of the expelled wife.