Born in Nigeria in 1938, Fela Kuti was a remarkable multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, human rights and fiery political activist.
He started his musical studies in 1958 in London and later formed a band called Koola Lobitos. In 1963, Fela moved back to Nigeria, where he reformed his band before moving to Ghana in 1967, to reflect on his musical direction.
Kuti pioneered the Afrobeat music genre, by mixing soul, jazz and traditional African rhythms, his gift to Africa and indeed the world. He toured the world with his group.
Kuti was a fierce human rights and political activist who dedicated his life to fighting inequality, injustice, and cultural imperialism through his music. A fervent proponent of Pan Africanism, Kuti yearned for an equal, peaceful, democratic and united country and continent.
We remember and celebrate the life of the doyenne of Afrobeat through his words, which undoubtedly left an indelible mark.
1. “A radical is he who has no sense…fights without reason…I have a reason. I am authentic. Yes, that’s what I am”.
2. “I must identify myself with Africa. Then I will have an identity”.
3. “Everything I did wrongly was for experience. That’s how I see it. Once a man is looking for a better knowledge and he tries to be honest and truthful in all endeavours, then his life is just an experience. It cannot be a regret”. Fela: This Bitch of a Life, Carlos Moore.
4. “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”.
5. “With my music, I create change…I am using my music as a weapon”.
6. “My people are scared of the air around them, they always have an excuse not to fight for freedom”.
7. “Everything I did wrongly is an experience…to be honest and truthful in all endeavours is an experience, not a regret”.
8. “Music is a weapon of the future / music is the weapon of the progressives / music is the weapon of the givers of life”.
9. “I want peace. Happiness. Not only for myself. For everybody”.
10. “A lutta continua… A lutta continua. A lutta continua… No! It must not continue. The struggle must STOP!” Fela: This Bitch of a Life, Carlos Moore.