This is not a hair post.
Tuesday was a good hair day for me, but beyond my twist out, it was also a really good day.
My friend L is around, and together we finally made it to the New Afrika Shrine. We’d both wanted to go for a long time, but she doesn’t live in Lagos, and for me- its been one thing after another. From the mall, we found our way to it on that Tuesday afternoon.
For my non-Nigerian readers, Fela Anikulapo Kuti was a great man, a gifted musician and the father of Afrobeat music. (Not the “Afrobeats” genre a lot of Nigerian & Ghanaian music is grouped under these days.)
Fela died in 1997 at almost 59. He lived life on his own terms, and was a real problem for the authorities, because he dedicated himself to speaking the truth against the corruption and social inequality of the times. These problems are still as big and as crippling for Nigeria as they were in Fela’s time (even bigger sef), so Fela’s music, Fela’s message, is as relevant and inspiring today as it was then. He is as powerful a legend as Bob Marley.
To get to know the man, I’d like you to read one of my favourite books- Fela: This Bitch of a Life. If you’re in Nigeria, you can get it on Buyam (free shipping nationwide!), and if you’re outside the country, it’s available on Amazon.
The New Afrika Shrine was built by Femi & Yeni Kuti, two of Fela’s three children, after his death. People were there chilling, watching TV, eating, drinking, just vibing. We took a lot of photos lol- we weren’t shy to be tourists, and nobody minded us really. We got help with our photos, and we didn’t have to ask. Our informal tour guides were helpful too. 🙂
As we walked past this very spot on our way out, something hit me. I finally understand why it’s good to have children. Now, I have a reason, apart from the narcissistic desire to share the world with a mini-me. Fela was such a powerful force, but without his children, his legacy (especially in Nigeria) would have suffered. The people we’d normally dismiss as touts or useless, Fela cared about them. He housed and fed them. Where would they have been on that sunny Lagos afternoon? The Shrine remains a refuge for them. It’s really great what Fela’s kids are doing with what he left them, and I hope that in future, their offspring do the same. I hope we can also do this in our lives as well. By this I mean, be truly fruitful. And then multiply. Okay I’ve probably lost you now.
I’ll be back again, for the music. Both Fela’s sons, Femi Kuti and Seun Anikulapo Kuti play at The Shrine with their bands, when they’re not on world tours.
Have you seen ‘Finding Fela’? I think I’ll go see it next week.
Peace & Love,
The New Afrika Shrine
1 NERDC Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos.
For Your Listening Pleasure:
Fela Anikulapo Kuti- Yellow Fever
Femi Kuti- Truth Don Die
Seun Anikulapo-Kuti (Featured on Blitz the Ambassador’s track)- Make You No Forget