Around noon on Friday, February 18, 1977, about a thousand heavily armed government troops stormed the Kalakuta Republic, Afrobeat pioneer and outspoken human rights activist Fela Kuti’s residence at 14, Agege Motor Road, Idi-Oro, Mushin, Lagos.
After a fifteen-hour siege in which mortars were presumably fired, the building was in flames, women had been raped and Fela’s mother, women’s rights activist Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was badly injured after being thrown out a second-floor window along with her son. Mrs. Ransome-Kuti later lapsed into a coma in which she remained till her death on April 13, 1978.
Since rebuilt, the Kalakuta Republic was converted to a museum by the government of Lagos in 2012. Head below to see pre-1977 photos (courtesy of The Nigerian Nostalgia Project) of Fela, his wives and dancers as well as a clip from Music Is My Weapon, the 1982 documentary on the legend. Also, stream Zombie, the anti-government song released shortly before the irate Olusegun Obasanjo-led military regime ordered the vicious attack on Kalakuta.
He’s a Guru Maharaji devotee, he has a shrine in his home and he hid his mother’s corpse in a closet for ten years. Meet 64-year-old Chimezie Osigwe, retired principal and suspected ritual murderer.
As much as I feel bad for him (rumour has it he has been suspended), I’ll forever be grateful to Obafaiye Shem, the National Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) commandant who goofed so badly on public television that he and his dumbass slip-up(s) went viral. Forgive me, but with the sickening heat, I need all the humour I can get in my life.
And the trend continues to spread like a terrible airborne disease right out of Hell (people, some questionable ‘songs’ have been recorded). Next stop: YouTube. Here are the top #MyOgaAtTheTop videos on the Web: clever DJ mixes, straight up studio freestyles, dance routines etc. More power to the able commandant.