Fela lives on!
Today marks 20 years since musical icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, passed on.
Fela well known for pioneering the Afrobeat genre, especially with his derogatory music, was a multi-instrumentalist, humans rights activist, political maverick, and revolutionary who was never afraid to fight for his beliefs.
Fela was one of Africa’s most controversial musicians who frustrated with the cowardice of Nigerians to accept oppression.’
He fought throughout his life for the rights of the common man despite vilification, harassment, and even imprisonment by the Nigerian government. Kuti was strongly influenced by parents, his mother being Funmilayo, a leading figure in the nationalist struggle.
We bring you ten quotes from the legendary Fela Kuti:
1. About music, Fela said: “Music is the weapon. Music is the weapon of the future.”
2. To the military and law enforcement systems, he sang: “Zombie, oh, zombie, Zombie no go go unless you tell am to go, Zombie no go stop unless you tell am to stop. No brake, no jam, no sense.”
3. On his frustration over the oppression of Nigerians, he said: “My people are scared of the air around them, they always have an excuse not to fight for freedom.”
4. On Nigerians’ suffering at the expense of corrupt politicians and polotical leaders, he sang: “My people dey shuffering and smiling, everyday na the same thing. Suffer, suffer for world, enjoy for heaven.”
5. On religion and spirituality, he said: “To be spiritual is not by praying and going to church. Spiritualism is the understanding of the universe so that it can be a better place to live in.”
6. Fela on the play titled ‘A fool at 40’, once said: “They say a fool at 40’s a fool forever. I won’t say that to my brother. Change if you’re a fool at 20/30. Don’t wait until u’re 40.”
7. To black women who bleached their skin, he sang: “Yellow fever, you dey bleach o, you dey bleach, ugly thing. Who say you fine? Na lie.”
8. In “Water no get enemy”, Fela sang: “Water e no get enemy. If you fight am unless you wan die. I dey talk of black power.”
10. Lastly, on death, Fela said: “I hold death in my pouch, I cannot die.”
Indeed Fela lives on!