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20 years after he died, we look at 19 Interesting Facts about Fela Anikulapo Kuti

Fela Kuti

Exactly 20 years ago today, the Agbami Eda, father of Afrobeats, pain in the corrupt ass of the military junta and musico-activist (we had to create a word for him), Fela Kuti passed on. We can tell you how great he was, how relevant his music still is, and how much Nigeria misses him, but let us just share interesting facts that many people know and do not know about him.

Enjoy and share.

  1. His full name is Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti.
  2. He was born in Abeokuta, Ogun State, on the 15th of October, 1938.
  3. He was a multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, arranger, and also the pioneer of Afrobeat music genre. He was an active performer from when he was 20 till he died.Fela
  4. His Mother Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti was a Feminist activist, she was also the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria.
  5. His Father Isreal Oludotun Ransome-Kuti was an Anglican Minister and school principal, and the first president of Nigeria Union of Teachers.
  6. He is a first cousin to Wole Soyinka, Nigeria’s Nobel LauretteFela and Soyinka
  7. As a child, he learnt how to play the piano and drums, and led his school choir.
  8. In 1958, he was sent to study Medicine in London, but he ended up studying Classical Music instead at the Trinity College of Music.
  9. The Trumpet was his preferred instrument.
  10. His first wife was Remilekun Taylor and she bore 3 kids for him – Femi Kuti, Yeni Kuti and Sola Kuti
  11. He returned to Nigeria in 1963, and trained as a radio producer for Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.fela kuti
  12. In 1967, he renamed his music Afrobeat, an inspiration he got when he went to think up a new musical direction in Ghana.
  13. In 1970, he set up his first night club in Empire hotel, Lagos. It was first named Afro spot, then later renamed Afrika shrine.
  14. In 1970, he gave himself the name ANIKULAPO, which means “One who carries death in a pouch”. He interpreted it to mean “He is the master of his own destiny, and will decide when he wants to die”.
  15. In 1978, he married 27 wives at once – many who were his dancers, composers, and singers. This marriage was actually to protect Fela from the authorities; from false claims he had kidnapped them. He later divorced them.Fela Kuti and wives
  16. He formed a political party named Movement of the People (MOP). In 1979, he ran for presidency of Nigeria, but his candidature was refused.
  17. Soon as he recorded a song, he never played it live again. Reports have it that he refused billions to play old tracks again.
  18. Due to his incessant bashing of the military rulers, he was arrested about 200 times and endured numerous beatings. He did not stop bashing themFela beaten by military men
  19. He died of AIDS-related complications on August 2, 1997, at the age of 58. Roughly 1 million people attended his funeral procession, which began at Tafawa Balewa Square and ended at his home, Kalakuta, in Ikeja, Nigeria, where he was laid to rest in the front yard.

Written by Chidi Okereke

Content creator, Digital Communications guy, Social Media Analyst, Jack of many trades, and master of some.

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