We Are Fela |Marxian Halim

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“Early Days”

Whenever Kids Hear The Word Heroes I’m Sure The Names That Pops Up On Their Heads Are Batman,Superman And So On And Whenever The New Generation Of Millennial Hear The Word Heroes Names Of Folks Behind The Screen Yawning About How Much Money They Have And How Much Money They Can Get,Sadly We’ve Forgotten About The True Heroes Of The World From Malcolm X To Martin Luther King And Certainly On That Category Is Nigeria’s And One Of Africa’s Favourite Sons *Fela Ransome-Kuti*,Simply Known As *Fela Kuti* Or *Fela*

Heroes Like Fela Kuti Have Paved Ways For The New Generation Of Singers To Rise.

Fela Has Been Regarded As The Creator Of Afro Beats Which Is One Of Trendiest Ways Of Singing In The Modern Aged Africa.

So Who Was Fela?

FAMILY

Fela Was Birthed On The 15th Of October 1938 As Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti In Abeokuta,Western Region Then Called British Nigeria Now Known As Abeokuta,Ogun State Nigerian.

His Mother Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti Was A Feminist Activist In The Anti Colonial Movement. His Father,Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti Was An Angelican Minister And A School Principal And Was The First President Of Nigerian Union Of Teachers.
His Brothers Believe Ransome-Kuti And Olukoye Ransome-Kuti Both Profound Medical Doctors..

Fela Was The First Cousin Of Another Greatman And Proud Valued Nigerian *Wole Soyinka* Who Is The First African To Win A Nobel Prize For Literature,Fela Was Indeed Surrounded By Great Company.

Fela Attended Abeokuta Grammar School.Later He Told His Parents About Attending A College In London To Study Medicine But Opted To Study Music At The Trinity College Of Music.Fela Found His Passion For Music As He Felt That It Was A Unique Of Communication.

Just Like Any Other Artist Fela Had A Preference For Musical Instruments.
He Preferred The Trumpet As His Favorite Instrument.

While In London Fela Created The Band Kaola Lobitos Playing A Fusion Of Jazz And Highlife..In 1960 Fela Would Marry His First Of Many Wives Remilekun “Remi” Taylor With Whom He Would Have Three Children With “Femi, Yeni And Sola”

After His Time In London Fela Returned Home To The Newly Independent Federation Of Nigeria,During His Time Back He Reformed The Kaola Labitos And Trained As A Radio Producer For The Nigerian Broadcasting Co-operation.He Played For Sometime With Victor Olaiya And His All Stars.
In 1967 Fela Set Out For Ghana On A Quest For A New Musical Direction And It Was On This Quest That Fela A New Sound,A Sound That Fela Felt And Referred To As A New Sound Of Communication,Fela Called This Sound Afrobeats.

Music

Afrobeat Was A Combination Of Funk-Jazz, Salsa, Calypso And Traditional Nigerian Yoruba Music.
Fela Spoke Highly About The Afro Beat And About Music In General,Fela Famously Once Reffered Music As “The Weapon Of The Future”

In The Late 60’s Fela Felt That It Was Time To Introduce Afrobeats To The World,So He Took The Band To The United States Where They Spent Ten Months In Los Angeles,While There Fela Discovered The Black Power Movement Through Sandra Smith.
After Seeing America At Her Darkest And Politically Frustrated Time The Experience Would Influence Fela’s Music And Political Views.That Experience Would Lead Fela To Rename His Band The Nigeria 70,Soon Afterwards The Immigration And Neutralization Service Were Tipped Off That Fela And His Band Were Working In The US Without A Workers Permit.

The Band Performed A Couple Of Quick Recording Sessions That Would Later Be Released As The 69 Los Angeles Sessions.

The 1970’s Was A Transformation Year For Fela And The Nigeria 70,After Returning Back To Nigeria The Band Changed Their Lyrical Theme From Love And Romance To Social And Political Issues “A Theme That Would Soon Gain Attention From The Government And Public”

Fela Formed The Kalakuta Republic,A Commune, A Recording Studio And A Home For Many People Connected With The Band That He Later Declared Independent From The Nigerian State.
In Other To Gain A Variety Of Fans To The Bands New Mode Of Singing,Fela Set Up A Night Club In The Empire Hotel. The Club Was First Named The Afro Beats Spot But Was Later Renamed The “Afrika Shrine”
On The Shrine Stage Fela Regularly Sang And Officiated At Personalised Yoruba Traditional Ceremonies In Honor Of His Nations Ancestral Faith.

Fela With His New Found Fire For Fighting The Plague That Troubled The World At The Time “Racism And Slavery” Changed His Ancestral Name From *Ransome* To *Anikulapo* Fela Believed That Ransome Was A Slave Name That Has Been Sold To His Family And So Rejected It.

Fela’s Music Grewed In Popularity Amongst The Nigerian Public And Africa In General.Fela Came Up With The Decision To Sing In Pidgin Language So His Songs Could Be Enjoyed Throughout The Continent,Where The Local Language Spoken Are Diverse And Numerous..

Because Of It’s Theme Fela’s Music Was Targeted By The Ruling Government Because It Sent A Message Of Discrimination To The Government,Because Of It’s Messages Fela And His Band Constantly Lived On A Knifes Edge And During The Early 70’s Kalakuta Republic Was Constantly Being Raided,With Musical Instruments Being Broken Or Lost.Short To Say The Music Was Very Unpopular With The Government

In The Late 70’s,The Nigerian 70 Released The Album Titled *Zombie* A Scathing Attack On Nigerian Soldiers Using Zombie As A Clear Metaphor To Describe The Methods Of The Nigerian Military..

The Album Gained Popularity Amongst The Public Which Infuriated The Ruling Government,The Ruling Government Would Retaliate Against Fela And The Band By Sending Soldiers To Raid The Kalakuta Republic,A Mass Attack Which Would See One Thousand Soldiers Attack The Commune.
Fela Was Severely Beaten And His Mother “Whose House Was Located Opposite The Commune” Was Thrown Out Of Her Window Which Would Cause Fatal Injuries.

The Kalakuta Republic Was Burnt And Fela’s Instrument And Master Tapes Were Destroyed,Fela Claimed That He Would Have Been Killed If Not For The Intervention Of A Commanding Officer As He Was Being Beaten.

Fela’s Response To The Attack Was To Deliver His Mother’s Coffin To The Dodan Barracks In Lagos,General Olusegun Obasanjo’s Residence And To Write Two Songs “Coffin For The Head Of State” And “Unknown Soldier” Referencing The Inquiry That The Commune Had Been Destroyed By An Unknown Soldier.

Fela And The Nigeria 70 Moved To The Crossroads Hotel As The Shrine Had Been Destroyed Along With The Commune.
In 1978 Fela Married 27 Women All Of Whom Were His Dancers,Composers And Singers,The Marriage Not Only Marked A Years Past Of The Kalakuta Attack But Also To Protect Fela And His Wives From False Claims That Fela Was Kidnapping The Women.

The Late 70’s For Fela Was Also Marked By Two Notorious Concerts,The First In Accra,Ghana In Which Violence Broke Out During The Song Zombie Which Led To Fela Being Banned From Entering Ghana,The Second Was At The Berlin Jazz Festival After Which Most Of Fela’s Musicians Deserted Him Due To Rumors That Fela Was Planning On Using The Entire Money To Fund His Presidential Campaign.
The Political Rumours Proved To Be True,Fela Was First Denied Candidacy By Several Political Party Before Forming His Own Political Party Which He Called “M.O.P” The Movement Of The People With The Aspect Of Clearing The Society Like A Mop.

In 1979 Fela Put Himself Up Forward For President In Nigeria “The Country’s First Election For More Than A Decade” But His Candidature Was Refused…,At This Time Fela Created A New Band Which He Called The Egypt 80…Reffering To The Idea That Egyptian Civilization Knowledge And Religious System Was African And Must Be Claimed As Such.

Politics

The Military Regained Power In The 1980’s With The Then And Now President General Muhammad Buhari In Control,The Government Was A Formidable Figure But Fela Stood His Ground As He Still Remained A Strong Vocal Opponent.Later On, Fela Let His Better Half Suffer A Blow As He Endulged In Illegal Acts As “Currency Smuggling” Which The Amnesty Suspected To Be Politically Motivated.Fela Was Jailed On A Charge Of Currency Smuggling And This Definitely Dented His Public Image.

The Amnesty Designated Him A Prisoner Of Conscience,Fela’s Case Was Also Taken Up By Other Human Rights Groups And After 20 Months He Was Released From Prison By General *Ibrahim Babagida*.While In Prison Fela Went Through Reformation And Transformation And Upon His Release He Divorced His Twelve Remaining Wives Claiming That Marriage Brings Nothing But Jealousy And Selfishness.

Fela Later Went On To Release A Couple Of Albums With Egypt 80 And Also Went On To Make A Number Of Successful Tours Of The United States And Europe But Fela Didn’t Let Music Get In The Way Of His Political Aspirations As He Was Still Politically Active.In The 1800’s Fela Performed In The Giant Stadium,New Jersey As Part Of The Amnesty International “A Conspiracy Of Home Concert”.Fela Shared The Bill With The Neville Brothers,Bono And Carlos Santana.
Fela And The Egypt 80 Went On To Release The Anti-Aparthied “Beast Of No Nation” Which Depicted On Its Covers Then US President *Ronald Reagan* UK Prime Minister *Margaret Thatcher* And South African President *Pieter Willen*,Fela Was Creating An Uprising Against The Apartheid System,An Uprising That Certainly Brought Out The Beast In Us.

At The Dawn Of The 1900s Fela’s Album Output Slowed Down Significantly And Eventually Fela Stopped Releasing Albums Altogether.

Politics

In 1993 Fela And Four Other Members Of The Egypt 80 Were Arrested For Murder As The War Against Corruption Started To Take Its Toll On Fela Especially During The Rise Of Dictator *Sani Abacha* Rumours Also Surfaced That Fela Was Suffering From An Illness Which He Was Refusing Treatment From.
Fela’s Political Image Grew From The 70’s Until His Death.

Kuti Criticized The Corruption Of Nigeria’s Government And The Mistreatment Of It’s Citizens,Fela Believed That The Lower Class Citizens Were At A Disadvantage Over The Upper Class Citizens Even If The Law Was Put Into Play.

Fela Strongly Believed That Colonization Was The Root Of Socio Economic Problems That Plague The African Continent. Kuti Described Corruption As One Of The Worst If Not The Worst Politically Created Problem,Which Wasn’t Much Of A Surprise As Nigeria Was Amongst The Most Corrupt Countries In The World At The Time.

The Ruling Government In Nigeria Was Responsible For Election Rigging And Coups That Ultimately Worsened Poverty,Economic Inequality,Political Instability And Unemployment Which Further Promoted Corruption And Thuggery, Fela’s Protest Songs Covered Themes Inspired By The Realities Of Corruption And Socio Economic Inequality In Africa.
Fela’s Politically Motivated Statements Could Be Heard Throughout Africa. Fela Kuti’s Strong Hold On Fighting Against The Wrongs Not Just Politically But Also The Ones That Our Colonial Masters Brought To Africa Led Him To A Name Change,A Name Change That Underlined Fela’s Character And Beliefs,Fela Changed His Ancestral Name From Ransome To Anikulapo.
Anikulapo Meaning One Who Holds Death On His Pouch.

Fela Was A Threat To The Ruling Government,His Ability To Sway The Public Was A Major Concern For The Government.

Politics

Fela Wasn’t Much Of A Debator Or Dictator Rather Fela Let His Songs Speak For Him,With Fela It Was Obvious That His Songs Represented His Inner Thoughts.
Fela Spoke The Truth Which Gained Him Immense Popularity With The Public,His Songs Set A Dynamic Between Music As A Form Of Art And A Socio Political Discource,This Was Known As Afrobeat Thuggery And Fela Was Recognized By The Government As A Thug.

On One Of His Famous Songs “Beast Of No Nation” Fela Harshly Criticized And Insulted The Ruling Government Of General Muhammad Buhari,Fela Referred To President Buhari As A Animal In A Madman’s Body.Kuti Was A Strong And Proud Supporter Of The African Lifestyle,He Strongly Believed That The Way For African’s To Fight European Imperialism Was To Support The Traditional African Religion And Lifestyle.

Fela Was Strongly Influenced By The Black Power Movement,He Was A Proud Supporter Of Pan- Africanism And Socialism And Called For Africans To Be United Against Her Oppressors.

If It Wasn’t Obvious Fela Wasn’t A Fan Of The Military Ruling Of The Country And Songs Like Zombie Were Direct Attacks Against The Dictatorship And Militaristic Ruling Of The Government.Fela Preached Unity And He Was Certain That If We Africans United We Would A Formidable Force.

He Believed In Black Equality,Fela Openly Criticized The United States During A Meeting In His 1981 Amstardam Tour,He Complained About The Pshycological Warfare That American Organization Like (I. T. T) And The C. I. A Waged Against Developing Nations In Terms Of Language,Fela Didn’t See Why The Terms Third World,Underdevelopd Or Even Non-Alligned Countries Should Be Used As They Implied Inferiority.

Legacy

A Pioneer Of Greatness,A Revolutionary,A Socio Political Activist,The Creator Of The Afro Beat Music Genre,An Artist And A Father,It Is Sure To Say That Fela Anikulapo Kuti Has Left An Impeccable Legacy.Fela Wasn’t The Perfect Man But From Music To Politics Fela Was A Man Of High Integrity And Unrivalled Pride,He Never Failed To Voice His Beliefs And He Certainly Never Failed To Voice His Discontent On The Political System In Nigeria,A System He Considered Biased And Unapathied.

When We Look Back At His Choice Of Lifestyle Fela Kuti Wasn’t Really Completely Perfect,Fela Was Known To Be An Adulterous Man Who Slept With More Women Than He Married And Considering That He Married 27 Women You Can Only Imagine The Amount Of Women He Had Slept With,Fela Wasn’t Also The Perfect Husband,He Never Failed To Show His Displeasure Towards His Wives And Was Known To Physically Abuse His Wives Whenever They Did Anything Wrong And Even With His Strong Profile For Saying The Truth And His Actions For Standing Up What Is Right In Which He Was Known For Endangering His Life And Some Would Say “Selfishly” Endangering The Life Of His Loved Ones.

Morally Fela Wasn’t The Best Of Idols Either,In Fela *This Bitch Of A Life* Which Was Written By *Carlos Moore* Fela Spoke Freely About Women Being Third Class To Men,He Metaphorically Spoke About Women Being Nothing More Than Mattrasses On Which Men We’re Meant To Sleep On,Fela Also Believed That Women We’re Like Satans (Uncontrollable,Unpredictable And Spreads Nothing But Jealousy And Selfishness). He Preferred His Women To Be Obedient “The African Way”

Fela Anikulapo Kuti Was Also Known To Be A Proud Supporter Of The Yoruba Traditional Religion Voicing That Religions Like Islam And Christianity To Be Dangerous And Known To Spread Falsehood,Fela Believed That Religious Books (The Quran And Holy Bible) Approves And Justifies Slavery On Its Scriptures,He Also Believed That Some Girls Are Ready For Sex As Early As Nine Years Old.

Fela’s Songs Was A Revelation Which Helped In Paving Way For The New Age Of Sounds.He Used His Music To Stare Down And Oppose The Oppressive Politics That Threatened To Ruin Afrika And Remained Insistent To His Last Breath That Craddle Of Civilization Must Not Bow To Vulgar Attempts To Transforming Her To A Bastardized Europe.

He Waged A Strategic Grassroots War To Preserve The Core Of The Continents Existence And Fought For The Rebirth Of Africa And Humanity.
Fela Was Considered By The Government To Be A Thug, His Decision To Voice The Truth On His Lengthy Songs Is One Of The Reasons Africa And Not Just Nigeria Considers Him To Be One Of Her Favorite Sons.

Even With Oppressions From The Ruling Government Fela Never Failed To Voice His Displease Towards The Mistreatment Of His People,A Decision That Nigeria Will Forever Be Grateful For.

Fela’s Songs Remains Relevant Today As His Educational Lyrics Still Echoed Through The Years And Till Date As Corruption Still Has A Strong Hold On Nigeria.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti Was An Instrumentalist,A Pioneer,An Artiste And As Long As Afro Beats Still Exists He Legacy Will Forever Live

Wives And Children

When You Hear About A Man With A Desire For Women,A Man With A Want For Women Then Certainly Were Talking About The Same Man Who Had Death On His Pouch.In The West Fela Isn’t Referred To As The Pioneer Of Afrobeats But As “Eda Abami” The Strange Creature,The Man Who Married 27 Wives And Did So In A Single Ceremony.

In A Ceremony That Was Conducted By A Yoruba Priest ‘With Fela’s Upholdance Of The Yoruba Tradition’ It Was No Surprise.The Ceremony Took Place In The Late 70’s As Authorities Piled The Pressure On Fela On The Note That Fela Kuti Was Kidnapping The Women.

All The Women Were Fela’s Dancers And Singers,There Are Many Sides To This Group Marriage But One Can Only Imagine How It Took Place.
There Were Many Claims To Why The Marriage Took Place And All 27 Marriage On The Same Day,The Most Recognized And Believe Story To Why The Marriage Took Place Is That After The Raid On The Kalakuta Republic Many Of His Members Became Homeless So Fela Decided To Do The Unusual By Putting Out A Piece Of Paper To His Female Band Members And Requesting For The Names Of Those That Would Like To Marry Him And Predictably All Of His Female Band Members Wrote Their Names,The Entire 27 Female Band Members.

It Was Gathered That Fela Married The Women To Protect Them From Being Debunked And To End The Rumours That He Was Kidnapping Them,In A Show Of Support,The Marriage Ceremony Of Fela Was Attended By His Family,Friends And Band Members. During The Marriage Ceremony Fela Rendered A Short Speech And Pressed Naira Notes On His New Wives Forehead And Issued Marriage Certificates.
Fela Employed A Rotation System Of Twelve Wives At A Time And After The Marriage Fela Took His Wives To Ghana For Their Honeymoon.

Wives And children

During The Mid 80’s,Shortly After His Release From Prison Fela Divorced All His 27 Wives Claiming That Marriage Has Brought Him Nothing But Jealousy And Selfishness But Never Forced His Wives To Leave Him,Though He Had Divorced Them Truthfully Some Lived With Him Until His Death In 1997.

Fela Was Certainly Influenced By Women Althrough His Life And Although Fela Had Many Wives,The One True Woman Who Was Recognized As His Queen Was His Mother *Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti*,Also Known As “Bere” Was The Catalyst Who Shaped Fela To The Revolutionary He Soon Became.Her Efforts In Trying To Eradicate The Colonialism,Racism And Sexism That Was Running Rampant On Nigeria As A Boy, Kuti Soaked In Her Wisdom And Took Great Pride In Her Fearlessness.
Sandra Iszadore, A Black Panther Who Fela Considers To Be One Of The Most Influential Women In His Life Exposed Him To Anti-establish Human Rights Battle Being Waged In The United States,Educating Him On Malcolm X And The Last Poets,Sandra Opened His Eyes To The Injustice In The World,Around Him And To His Own Account Exposed Him To His African-ness.
Sure To Say Without The Influence Of Women The Transformative Political Figure Of Fela Would Not Have Existed.

Fela Had Many Wives But The Only Wife Who Was Known To Command Fela’s Respect Without Even Trying Was His First Wife Remilekun “Remi” Taylor To Whom He Would Have Three Children With (Yeni, Femi And Sola)
One Of Fela If Not Fela’s Favorite Son Was A Child From His Other Marriages “Seun Anikulapo Kuti”

Wives And Children

*Suen Anikulapo Kuti* Is The Youngest Son Of The Legendary Afro Beat Singer And Founder.Fela Had Eight Children,The Three Eldest Children Are From His First And Only Legal Wife *Remi Taylor* Yeni (A Girl) Femi (A Boy) And Sola (A Girl).,Fela Kuti Had Five More Children From His Publicly Group Marriage To 27 Wives.

Seun Is A Complete Egypt 80 Product Being The Son Of The Band Leader And One Of The Dancers (Fehintola Anikulapo Kuti).
Fehintola’s Pictures And Name Are Featured On Many Of Egypt 80’s Record Sleeve From The 1980’s,The Period Were African Artiste Were More Popular Than Ever In The West.Seun’s Uncanny Resemblance To His Father Certainly Played A Role In Making Him His Father’s Favorite Child.The Children From Fela’s Group Marriage Often Went On Tours And Attended Gigs,At A Young Age Seun Expressed His Desire To Sing For His Father,After A Short While Seun Became Close To His Father And Band,Acting As Some Sort Of Mascot And Would Sing A Few Songs Backed Up By The Egypt 80 Before His Father Would Take To The Stage And After His Father’s Demise At The Age Of 14,Seun Became The Lead Singer Of The Egypt 80

While In School Seun Had To Choose Between Football Which He Had A Natural Talent For And Singing Which He Had A Strong Passion For,Seun Choose Music And Would Lead The Egypt 80 For Years To Come.

Femi And Yeni (Two Of Fela’s Eldest Children) Nowadays Control The Resurrected Afrikan Shrine In Lagos While Sola Who Was A Dancer On Fela’s Egypt 80 Band Died In 1997 Several Months After Her Father’s Death Due To Wrong Diagnosis.
Femi Who Had Played For The Egypt 80 From His Sixteenth Year Up Until He Had Fallen Out With His Father Decided That It Was Time He Formed His Own Band In The Tradition Of Afro Beat Blend Of Music.Femi Eschewed On The Rock Star Aspect Of His Father But Married One Wife And Banned Alcohol And Cannabis From His Surroundings.During The Fallout With His Father Femi Didn’t Speak To Fela For Several Years,Although Femi Adored His Father’s Musical Prowess,He Resented His Father’s Lifestyle Of Weed And Alcohol And When Asked After His Father’s Death If He Was Planning On Being The Next Fela,Femi Said “I Am Not My Father And I’m Not Planning On Becoming Him”

Death And Rebirth

On The Second Of August 1997 Around 4PM Local Time,Fela Anikulapo Kuti Passed On,In Lagos State,Nigeria..,
A Father,A Pioneer,An Instrumental Figure On The Music Industry,The Man Who Held Death On His Pouch Got His Life Cut Short By Death At The Age Of 58.

Several Weeks Before His Death Rumours Surfaced That Fela Kuti Was Suffering From An Illness In Which He Refused Treatment For And As God Would Have It,He Suffered From The Unknown Illness Until His Death On The Second Of August,Confirmed And Conveyed To The World By His Beloved Brother.

Fela’s Death Illness Was Unknown At First As Rumours Went Out To The World That The Icon Had Died Of Cancer But It Was Later Proven That The Nicknamed “Eda Abami” Had Died Of Complications With HIV/AIDS And From His Fiasco’s With Different Women During His Lifetime,Certainly It Was No Surprise.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti Was Later On Nicknamed “The People’s President” After One Million People Attended His Funeral At The Abubakar Tafawa Belewa Square In Lagos.
On The Documentary *Finding Fela* His Two Eldest Children (Yeni And Femi) Retell The Story Of The Funeral On August 11 1997.

According To Femi The Extended Family Wanted It To Be A Quiet Affair On His Residence With A Little Fan Fair As Possible Because He Had Died Of Aids But Fela Was Larger Than Life.
The Children Insisted That The Funeral Be Public So That The Masses Could See Their Hero One Last Time.The Family Decided To Display His Body On A Transparent Coffin At The Tafawa Belewa Square In Lagos State,Nigeria

On The Burial Day The Family Got There As Early As Possible,They Placed Fela’s Transparent Casket With Him Holding A Wrap Of Cannabis “A Final Middle Finger To The Establishment He Spent His Whole Life Fighting”

Femi Narrated That By 6.30AM We Placed The Body Down And By 7.30AM We Could Here People Trickling In And Soon The Trickle Became A Constant Stream And By Noon The Whole Place Was Filled With Thousands Of People Who Had Come To Take One Final Glance At Their Hero And To Pay Their Last Respects.
It Was Later Estimated That 1 Million People Were In The Square That Day,It Was Nothing Less Than What He Deserved.

The Day Went By Fast And Eventually It Was Time To Go Bury The Man,Yeni Says In The Documentary That The Immediate Family Had Satisfied The Fans By Presenting Fela To His Fans And Now It Was Time To Go Bury Their Father.

Between Her, Femi And Fela’s Long Term Manager *Rikki Stein* They Made A Decision To Sneak The Body Out Of The Arena.On Signal They Picked Up The Casket,Droped It On The Car And Attempted To Drive Off.The Fans Cut Them Off As It Got On The Road.

Yemi Continues “The Boys Stood In Front Of The Hearse And Said No Way,You’re Not Going Through The Third Mainland Bridge (Which Was The Shortest Rout) We Are Giving Fela The People’s Burial” And Thus The Procession Began From The Tafawa Belewa Square On The Island Through The City,They Crow Through Along,Singing And Chanting All Day Long.

The Whole City Was On Pause For The *Abami Eda* “Strange Creature” Not Less Than 500 000 People Were Part Of The Walk From The TFS To His House In Ikeja.
Yemi “It Took Us Seven Hours For A Thirty Minutes Journey,We Caused Confusion On The Streets Of Lagos City That Day”.It Was Nothing Short Of A Magical And Phenomenal Moment Said “Lemi Ghariokwe” An Artiste And Close Friend Of Fela. It Took A While But The Crowd Finally Got To His Residence For His Internment.The House Has Now Been Remodeled Into A Museum.

In All The Years That He Has Been Dead They Haven’t Been A Musician With As Much Charisma As He Has Nor Icon That Has Practically Been Worshipped As He Has.
Whenever I Think Of Fela,Who He Was,Three Things Come To Mind,Fela Was A Pioneer,A Messenger And An Inspiration.

Fela Was A Pioneer Of The Afro Beat Sound And Music Which He Referred To As A Combination Of West African And American Music Styles Which Included Chanted Vocals And Interacting Rhythms.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti Developed/Created The Afro Beats Music in The 1970’s,The Purpose Of The Afrobeats Was To Distinguish His Music From That Of The American Artiste,Fela Was Highly Inspired By The Black Panther Movements And So Incorporated Social And Political Learnings In His Songs.

*Fela The Messenger*

Fela Was Certainly Unpopular With The Government At His Golden Age Because Of His Encouraged Activism And Conscious Fights Against The Military Dictatorship In Nigeria.

He Was A Proud Supporter Of The Yoruba Tradition Religion And Ethnicity.Beaten,Bruised And Battered Certainly Fela Was Highly Unfavoured By The Military Government,He Was Arrested Many Times, Jailed Many Times And Even Banned From Entering Some Countries.

*Death And Rebirth*

*The Inspirer*

Fela’s Sound, Music And Character Which Has Certainly inspired Many Of The Modern Day Nigerian Artists,He Has Paved The Way For Artists Like Wizkid,Olamide,Simi And So On With The Afro Beat Sound Which Has Gained Immense Recognition Today..!

Fela Anikulapo Kuti Was’nt The Perfect Man, Father Or Husband But The Legacy Which He Left Behind Will Forever Be Celebrated,From His Death Till Date Fela Kuti’s Legacy Is Still Well Celebrated Throughout Nigeria And Africa,The Annual Festival “Felabration” Is A Way For The Modern Day Artists In Nigeria To Celebrate The Life And Legacy Of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.

The Military Government Labeled Fela As A Thug Who Obstructed Peace,Some Said He Was An Adulterous Man And Even Some Believe That Fela Abused The Women In His Life Physically And Surely There Will Be A Debate About Fela If Indeed He Was A Hero Or A Villain But One Thing That Can’t Be Denied Is The Influence That Fela Had And The Fact That Everything He Said About The Military Government And Corruption In Nigeria Was The Truth.

Although Fela Anikulapo Kuti Has Passed On,The Fact That He Is Proudly Celebrated Today Clarifies That His Legacy Certainly Still Leaves On And As Long As We Uphold Truth And Justice And We Fight Against What Is Socially Wrong And Stand With Integrity Then Certainly Fela isn’t Gone For He Has Been Rebirthed In You, Me And Generations To Come.
I Am Fela For Fela Isn’t Just A Man But A State Of Being,You Are Fela,For Being Able To Recognize And Speak The Truth Paves Way For Peace In The Society,We Are Fela,For We Will Not Be Tamed,We Will Not Uphold All That Socially And Politically Wrong,We Are Fela For We Stand For Justice,We Are Fela For We Dance In The Face Of Fear And Sing The Songs Of Truth,We Are Justice,We Are Truth,We Are Fela.

Written by “Marxian Halim”

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