Fela, as we all know him as, was not just a musician, he was like a president to us. He is an Icon. A legend, a landmark.
A “cultural heavy weight.” Fela Anikulapo Kuti. The president of Kalakuta republic, he was among those men who thought beyond the leaders of Nigeria (he is still among them, though today he screams from a million miles away), like the Biafra story, Fela wanted Nigeria to be free, but the leaders of our country as at that era did not understand him, so they pursued, harassed and even hurt his dear mother. His songs, his lyrics are spotted all over with his story. Like the leopards spots, you can’t erase it off the skin of his music, his story and his spirit.
Though Fela was a controversial figure, many may not have loved his style, but many more love his art, his spirit and his message.
God placed Fela in the midst of Nigerians at a period when the people needed a voice, and a voice was he, a voice that irritated the ears of those who sat on high places, a voice that caused the whole nation to dance, a voice that created Afrobeats, along side his drummer, Tony Allen, a voice that still lives on and speaks for every Nigerian, every black man and any one in the universe who desires true freedom.
My generation may not have enjoyed him original, but we learn from him, we study his style and draw wisdom from it. That’s what a wise generation should do, learn from the icons of the previous generations, put the lessons into practice and save the next generation from too much “suffer head.”
He openly insults the leaders, a sin many call it, but great men speak against rotten leadership, Bob Marley speaks againts it, Jesus speaks against it, let great men take this path, it is not meant for all of us, just a few great ones.
His sounds have come to stay forever. He decided to do music over medicine, we thought he was mad, now his music is medicine for our aching hearts, and we realise our folly and scream! We were mad!
Fela left something people loved for him, to something he loved. That single decision placed him on the path to greatness.
There are decisions you must make that must always be at loggerheads with the interests of those around you. Many times we have to follow our hearts, though the words of people may not always rhyme with the rhythm of your heart.
His message remains with us forever, he has taught us and we are learning. We honor him by upholding any thought that advocates freedom.
• Written by A. A Mudi.
© apotheosis. 2019.