She lived fiercely like every day was her last, chasing her dreams and living them all.
At her death, Tosyn Bucknor was an OAP at Lagos based radio station, Inspiration FM. But she was more than that: for many years, she was called “Area Mama” on TOP Radio, her platform for many years where she was unofficially known as “The Voice of Lagos” by friends and fans. When her death was announced on Tuesday morning as a result of complications from sickle cell anaemia, it was the end of a short but extremely fulfilling life.
Despite being born with sickle cell anaemia, she had many dreams and she evidently achieved many, if not all of them before her untimely death at the age of 37.
She defied the odds of surviving an illness-plagued childhood from came to the limelight during her stint as an OAP at Top Radio. Her show, ‘Top Of The Morning With Tosyn Bucknor’ was one of the most listened to shows on the Nigerian airwaves.
At the time of her death, she was on the books of Inspiration FM and an on-air personality but she was more than that. She was an accomplished writer, content creator, songwriter, poet, podcaster, actress, compere, public speaker and all-around performer. Her thirty-seven years held more fulfilment than many seventy-three-year-old people.
Her Early life
Tosyn’s compelling story began on August 15, 1981, when she was born in a taxi as her mother made her way home after visiting a friend. The circumstances of her birth made her parents believe that she was a special child and also earned her the name ‘Abiona’- literally translated “Born on the road”.
The last of three children, her father Segun Bucknor was a highlife musician in the 60’s and 80’s.
Her dalliance with the arts began when she started writing songs in primary school. As she battled consistent bouts with sickle cell-related diseases, she was in and out of hospitals for months on end. In an old interview with BN she said “When it was bad, it was bad. I fell ill a lot as a child, and sometimes the crisis would affect me in some physical ways (thankfully, never permanently). I have had a period of my life where I was limping, and then, of course, there were the sores…I remember those ones I would get on my feet. Having a crisis or falling ill (pneumonia, enteric fever and anaemia) usually meant hospitals, injections, drips, transfusions, and of course money. So there was a period of my life where I went around feeling sorry for myself, hating God and feeling useless.”
But she pulled herself out of the pain induced misery and focused on looking on the bright side of life. “Thankfully, if you have enough conversations with god, he will keep showing you that you are his child and he loves you. When I realized that, I could either stay rooted in one spot asking questions and being filled with hate and negativity or I could get on living…”
“Yes, I have learnt to see my genes as part of my purpose. For any other option would drive me insane. How do you explain to a child that they are living with a disorder that is incurable and was inherited at birth, and came about simply because two people loved each other and brought forth life? How do you, as that child, wrap your head around it?
For me, there were transitions, but the most memorable are the angry, and the happy. Angry was at my mother (oddly, never my father. But I am a fierce daddy’s girl), and more importantly, at God. You see, it was impossible for me to understand how God could love me and punish me at the same time. I had wild discussions with Him, I even urged Him to kill me, Once, I was so ill that even the generator got on my nerves and moving a muscle spelt pain. That was my most fun moment because after I spent all my time asking God to take me home, I felt at peace and was no longer angry again! I do not always share this story as it sounds ‘spiri koko’ (spiritual) but since that day, I knew I had to either wrap my head around this disorder or let it consume me”, she wrote on her blog in 2010.
In another interview, she revealed how she found a knack for music.“I wrote my first song in primary school and sang it to the whole family. When I was in university I wanted to be a singer, I said this is my life goal, singing is the thing for me. I had my own rock band, recorded my first song with Cobhams Asuquo titled ‘First’ “
She would go on to record and release a full album under the moniker Con.tra.diction.
Her Career as a Radio Presenter
Bucknor began her journey as a radio presenter at Cool FM where, as an intern, she hosted the Fun Hour Show on Saturdays. She later joined ace comedian, Tee-A, on Eko FM for a couple of years.
Personally, this writer first heard Tosyn on her morning show “Top of the Morning” at Top Radio 90.9, and was instantly drawn to her. Her unique voice and chirpy tone were sure to perk anyone up. The warmth and exuberance her voice exuded was infectious, even over the radio.
According to her, working in Top Radio job was just an opportunity she stumbled on. “Being a creative person, I had no plan of working a 9-5 and then I’m like it’ll be interesting to get like a one hour show on radio where I can just vibe and do something called share. I’ve always got this word share in my head.”
She used her platform and important voice to draw attention to issues that affected many sections of the populace. She created THESE GENES, an awareness project for patients of the widespread sickle cell condition. Using her personal contacts, she created events that raise money for those who couldn’t afford treatment. She also founded s.h.a.r.e Networks, a collective meant for young people with interests in media to network and collaborate. It would later morph into The Tosyn Bucknor Company, a full-fledged media production company. And she was a proficient writer who for many years, contributed to NETng.
The many sides of Tosyn
She was an all-around media practitioner, who had an unmatched passion for the entertainment industry. When she was not speaking on Radio, Tosin would either write songs, get busy on a movie location or volunteer in projects to help the poor and better her society.
Although she was a practising media personality, she once revealed that acting was her first love and that she only considered a career in music when acting did not bear much fruit.
In November 2015, Bucknor and Aurelien Boyer had their traditional wedding in Lagos – with close family and friends in attendance – and would later have their white wedding in France, Boyer’s home Country.
Boyer, who currently works with Lafarge Engineering Construction in Nigeria, was fondly called ‘Irawo'( Star) by his darling wife. Before their marriage in 2015, he had dated the OAP for two years before proposing to her on August 11, 2015. In a sad twist of fate, it was he who came on and met the love of his life, dead.
Tosyn Bucknor’s battle with sickle cell didn’t stop her from living her life to the fullest and fulfilling her dreams. Her talents encompassed vlogging, singing, writing, acting and even DJ’ing. For all that it was worth, Tosyn lived every day like it was her last – her close friends always described her as the life of the party – and she gave hope to millions of sickle cell patients across the world with her unwavering strength and passion. She was a voice who made a meaningful and unforgettable impact in the 37 years that she lived.
Adieu, Tosyn- To live in the hearts of those we love is not to die.
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