Yeni Kuti, 55, says she is not engaged but she's in a very committed relationship based on the promise ring her partner of nine years gave her.
According to her Theo Lawson did not give her an engagement ring but a promise ring otherwise known as a commitment ring. “The ring my partner gave me is what they call ‘a commitment ring’. He gave me his mother’s wedding ring as a commitment to the relationship. We have been together for about nine years. When I met him, he used to wear the ring around his neck, so for me, it is a big deal” Yeni Kuti revealed.
“He has entrusted me with something very close to his heart. It is not like we are going to start doing wedding and all that, even though we are really committed to each other. I call him ‘my last bus stop’. If God gives us long life and says there should be another man in my life, he is the man for me and I believe I am the woman for him as well” she further said.
In Nigeria we are more familiar with engagement ring. A commitment or promise ring is still a rather unknown concept in Nigeria. What is a promise ring? According to Red C Jewels “Promise rings are most commonly given to a romantic partner as a sign of commitment that isn’t quite engagement. It’s a simple way to show how you feel and to say, “I’m here to stay.”
It is a fairly common gift to give someone you are in a steady and serious relationship with. It should not be confused with an engagement ring which states an intention for the relationship to end up in marriage. A promise ring signifies taking a relationship to another level.
In Hollywood, a promise ring is fairly common with several celebrities wearing them. A lot of upcoming kid stars wear promise rings signalling their commitment to remain virgins until they get married. This is one of the functions of a promise ring.
Actor Robert Pattinson and singer FKA Twigs exchanged promise rings in March 2015 to signify the seriousness of their relationship. Prior to his relationship to the singer Pattinson also gave out a promise ring to actress Kristen Stewart when he was dating her.
Anyone familiar with the Anikulapo-Kutis will know that the modern concept of marriage doesn’t work well for them. For a woman like Yeni Kuti getting engaged sounded odd. The Anikulapo-Kutis don’t settle down and marry at least not in the conventional way.
The idea of a relationship bounded with a promise ring makes more sense in the Kuti family set up and maybe in the future we will see a lot of celebrity couples in Nigeria adopt this style.