Mrs. Bosede Ransome-Kuti talks Golf and Life as Septuagenarian.

To mark this years’ world golf day and further encourage more women to engage in sports like golf that are male dominated; abovewhispers.com reached out to Mrs.Bosede Ransome-kuti and she welcomed us into her home for a chat.

Mrs. Bosede Ransome-kuti is the ever graceful 71 year old widow of Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti, the late pro-democracy activist and one of the pioneers and pillars of civil society in Nigeria. Mrs. Bosede is a trained secretary and her last employement was with De Santos pharmaceuticals where she worked as an Executive Secretary before leaving to manage some of the family businesses. We must also not under-estimate the consequences of being married to a multiple times incarcerated husband who was voice for the oppressed. Mrs. Bosede is a decades-long golf enthusiast and an active member of the Ikeja Golf Club, Lagos. She served as Lady Captain of the Club 2013/2014. Accomplished woman in her own right, aging gracefully in strength, beauty, and foresight to last another life time. We were a witness to her foresight when in our conversation via phone about when best for us to come over, and suddenly, her only concerned was our welfare en-route her house in a scenario where it rains.  We immediately brushed her concerns aside and assure her we will show up even if it rained cat-and-dog. As a matter of fact, our confidence and reassurance was only because we thought her concern was unfounded as not a single sign in the sky or elsewhere pointed to the possibility of it raining. We need not tell you that we not only arrived under a heavy rain but it also lasted throughout the interview and on our trip back.

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As should be expected our first question after we settled in was to ask if she would give us some of her discerning spirit and foresight as take-away parcel, to which she responded with an unassuming smile in her attempt to be gracious and not take too much credit.

 

We immediately proceeded to reel-out the questions we had in mind..

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  • How did you come about playing Golf and when exactly did you start?

 

I started playing golf in the year ….2000…. It was during a visit to Ikeja golf club to see a friend that I got to know about golf. Shortly after, I joined the club and had since been playing.

 

  • Why are there less women playing golf and what could be done about it?

Well, sports generally are men dominated. The same is the case with sports in Nigeria. Until recently, the society frowns at women who seems to be doing what men does, but that is changing now as we now have women who plays football. In golf, the same thing also applies; it’s has always being seen as more of a man’s sport. Beside, golf is seen as an elitist sports and how many women elite do you have in Nigeria compare with their male counterpart.

The other area is access to the sport. Women don’t have as much access to the sport as men, majorly because of economic reasons. Clubs in Nigeria are privately owned and run by members who pay subscription. It is not every woman that can afford to pay subscription. Don’t also forget that we are Africans; there are limits to what women can do. But thing are changing and I believe with time, you will begin to see more women in the sport.

         There seems to be a lot of South African women Golfers compared to Nigeria, why do you think this is so?

This question is similar to the one ask earlier on why there are less women in the sports. Anyway you are right that there are more South African women who play golf than Nigerian. Don’t also forget that Golf as a sport in South Africa is far more developed mainstream than what we have in Nigeria. In fact, when it comes to golf you cannot compare the two countries.However, as regards women in golf I will say that the South African society is a bit more liberal when it comes to issues concerning women and they also seems to be more powerful than others economically.

 

How much of your time and travel given to golf and do you have memories to share with us?

I play golf regularly. At least four times in a week. And when I am outside the country, and I have the means, I try to plays as well.

 

  • How good would you say you are at golf and did you ever consider playing professionally?

I consider myself to be a moderate player, in golf ratings, I am a 24 handicapper.

 

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  • Can you explain to us what it means to be a 24 handicapper?

Golf in a way is like every other sport. As you devote more time, you get better with it. In Golf after your training, you are given a handicap. For women the handicap starts from 35 and for men it’s from 28. As you get better the handicap drops from 35 to 34 and on. In my case, I have dropped to 24 and the more I play, the more my proficiency improves. For me, I play golf to keep fit and not to win anything. It’s more of a fitness routine for me. Like I said, I am a moderate player with that Handicap.

 

  • Can you tell about your time and achievement as the Lady Captain 2013/2014 of the Ikeja Golf Club?

Like you rightly mentions, I was elected Lady Captain of the Ikeja Golf Club where I served from 2013/2014. During my tenure I tried to reposition the sport and encourage more women to participate. Even before my serving as the Lady Captain, it was initiative to start the First Lady’s Golf tournament as a way of carving a niche for women in the sport. The have since held two editions of the tournament. The first one was in 2012 and the second when I was lady captain. I remain grateful for the support given by the then First Lady of Lagos State, Dame Abimbola Fashola. She supported the club with her heart and was there to open the tournament. I remember we spent a week before the tournament training her to perfect her swings and she always gave us a good show.

Mrs. Bosede Ransome Kuti with Her Excellency, Dame Abimbola Fashola
Mrs. Bosede Ransome Kuti with Her Excellency, Dame Abimbola Fashola
R-L: Mrs. Ransome Kuti, Dame Abimbola Fashola and some of the members of the Ikeja Golf Club
R-L: Mrs. Ransome Kuti, Dame Abimbola Fashola and some of the members of the Ikeja Golf Club
  • What will you say is the benefit of golf and why should more women play?

Asides the health benefit of participating in a sport like golf, the very fact that it is male dominated is a good reason why women should take it up too. We need to also create a space for ourselves in the sport. Also, in today’s competitive world, women cannot afford not to play golf. If you can talk about golf; you suddenly have a reason to talk to the CEO or your boss two levels above you. Golf is one of the few sports that are widely accepted in the workplace as a way to quickly build relationships and close deals. It is also a sport you can play up to a ripe age of 80-90 years.

  • Who would you say are your top 5 Nigerian/African female golfers of all time?

Let me limit my top five female golfers to Nigeria. There are actually a number of female golfers who can compete with their male counterpart here in this country.

I remember one Celina James from Port Harcourt. She is so good at the sport that she tried to play pro golf outside the country. Though she’s not as active as she use to be but in her hay-days she was very hot. There is also Uloma Mbuko. Mbuko is a member of IBB International Golf and Country club. She is very good as well. She is the only female golf professional in the country, even though she is in the teaching profession. She runs a golf school in Abuja. Another notable player is Chichi Alamu, and last I checked, she still plays good golf till date. Evelyn Oyome is another female top golfer who is excellent at the sport.Last but not the least is Stella Richmond. These are golfer who in the last fifteen years thereabout dominated women golf in Nigeria.  Though we have younger ones springing up right now, but none of them have supposed the five mentioned above.

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  • What is life like as septuagenarian and what does your day-to-day entail?

Well, I thank God for good health. Every morning I wake up, I say my prayers, thanking God and commiting my day into his hands. Like I mentioned early I play golf four times a week and try to eat healthy. I also have a gift shop that I go to every once in a while.

Mrs. Bosede Ransome Kuti and her husband, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti
Mrs. Bosede Ransome Kuti and her husband, Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti

 

  • Your husband, the late Dr. Beko Ransome-Kuti has a global legacy of championing human rights and still is perhaps the pioneer of civil society in Nigeria; don’t you think you should be more active in that space?

At the risk of generalization, let me say that civil society in Nigeria is not what it used to be. The selflessness and clarity of purpose that should characterize the movement is lost. I am not saying we don’t have honest human right activist anymore, what I am saying is that the space is now saturated with a lot of money-grabbers. Although I still give my voice and make myself available to support agendas that my husband stood for, as well as also engaging in other social campaigns. Like for the 70th birthday last year, I went on campaign to plant 70 trees. Instead of the elaborate and most times wasteful celebration that we fancy in this part of the world, I encouraged all my friends who were considering buying me gifts to instead pick the number of trees they would buy. Also, every once in a while I visit the Modupe School for children with disability to contribute to the excellent work they are doing there. I am also seriously looking into how I can be of help in the Internally Displaced People’s camps.

 

  • At your age most parents suddenly find themselves alone as all their children are out of the house, how are you faring and how are your children?

All my children and grand-children are doing excellently well. My last born clocked 40 years of age not long ago and every now and then they show up in the house to check-up on me. Also, we thank God for mobile phones. (Co-incidentally, one of her grand-kids runs into the living room to say hello to her and she subsequently introduced us).

  • Lastly, what do you think can be done to encourage more women to participate?

I think we need to address the elitist component of the sport. Virtually all golf courses in Nigeria are membership clubs with a few private ones which are expensive. You need close to one million naira to secure membership for clubs like the Ikoyi , Lakowe lakes and IBB golf clubs.

 

Mrs. Ransome Kuti's trophy golf trophy collection
Mrs. Ransome Kuti’s trophy golf trophy collection

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Copyright AboveWhispers.com
Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.abovewhispers.com as the source

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