[dropcap type=”3″]O[/dropcap]nly God can forgive those who think that Fela Anikulapo Kuti was just a smoker and serial womanizer during his life time. Over the years, the iconic legend of Afrobeat, has remained relevant, not only to Nigerians but to music lovers world over.
Undoubtedly, Fela, who died on August 2, 1997, made an impact on the society during his time.
His unique music has attracted many musicians and individuals. Moreso, his lifestyle and habit made him a brand many people wanted to associate with. Unfortunately for copycats, they found it difficult and failed to get the Fela edge. Nevertheless, Fela wannabes, through emulation, ensure that the icon lives on.
[quote_box_left]Fela was typically extolled for using his music as a potent weapon to fight injustice, military tyranny and oppression while also advocating for a better Nigeria, nay Africa. He dared the Nigerian government of his time for entrenching corruption and human rights abuses. His view as regards socio-cultural trend was beyond ordinary. Indeed, he was the Abami Eda (The Strange One). In that light, it might not be erroneous if anyone proclaims Fela as a prophet of his time. His words, especially through his music reverberated with prophetic outcomes. Many of what he sang about happened or are still happening, making him very relevant in present times.[/quote_box_left]
While alive, Fela was also known for being on the side of the people. His commune, the Kalakuta Republic in Ikeja, Lagos, which is currently a museum, was home to many. He stood on what he believed to be right without fear, which attests to the fact that he was a brave man, even if he did suffer several beatings by military goons and devious prison terms for maintaining his stance.
And since Fela’s death, his family members, associates and advocates, have been holding his memories and legacies aloft through the annual week-long festival of music tagged Felabration.
Felabration attracts thousands of people from across the world to the New Africa Shrine to keep his legacies alive in grand style. This year’s Felabration would be different – it promises to be a grander celebration of arguably the most iconic multi-instrumentalist ever to come out of Africa.