Legendary Afrobeat king, Fela Anikulapo Kuti was only 58 years old when he passed away on the 2nd of August, 1997, and 23 years after his death, his music is still etched into the hearts of every Nigerian both young and old. Known for his radical demeanor, ideals, and morals which is heard in his music, Fela was a major headache for corrupt politicians.
His music captured the zeitgeist of the late 60s and 70s as his lyrics strongly castigates corruption, police brutality, poverty, fear, apathy, and Generation Z would attest that ‘he is not a man of love but a preacher of war’.
Fela was undeterred by the power of government which repeatedly had him beaten, imprisoned, and even killed his mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. He simply wanted to battle unjust authority.
The 15th of October, 2020 marks what would have been his 82nd birthday. Fela left a legacy that has lived on and continued to survive for decades as all his songs have maintained their relevance, especially with all the anti-police brutality protests happening in the country at the moment.
Nigerian youths from all over the state have risen in large numbers to clamor for the end of police brutality and other forms of corruption. We’re sure he would be smiling at the youths for not giving up on the dream for a better Nigeria.
To celebrate this special day, Naijarocks shares with you 10 songs from the Abami Eda that are still relevant to date.
Shuffering and Smiling (1977)
Regarded as one of his most iconic songs, Fela describes the harsh conditions that Nigerians live in.
Fela sings about how Africans are suffering at the hands of oppressors that came to colonize and destroy the heritage of the continent.
His main focus is how Nigerians suffer and smile through all the pain because they seem to have the notion that they would be rewarded in the afterlife for not living a lavish life.
“Suffer, suffer for world, Enjoy for Heaven, Christians go dey yab In Spiritum Heavinus, Muslims go dey call Allahu Akbar.
Open you eye everywhere, Archbishop na miliki, Pope na enjoyment, Imam na gbaladun, Archbishop dey enjoy, Pope self dey enjoy, Imam self dey enjoy, My brother wetin you say?”