KALAKUTA MUSEUM ON INDEPENDENCE DAY
On the 18th of February, 1977, an attack happened at the house of a famous Nigerian singer, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. His mother was thrown down the stairs, the house was razed to ashes, he was beaten and paraded naked over a distance of 200metres.
The controversial singer was rendered homeless and banned from performing his music by the military government. He proceeded to Ghana from where he was eventually deported, yet with no home to return to in his fatherland.
He was forced to squat with his childhood friend and PRO; J.K Braimah, who lived in a three bedroom apartment on Atinuke Olabanji street, off Unity road, Ikeja – Lagos.
The compound comprised two blocks of flats, and each block contained 6 apartments. Soon as he moved into the apartment, the other tenants, apprehensive of what the soldiers would do, started moving out.
Eventually, Fela and the Kalakutans became the only occupants of the premises. This became the second Kalakuta.
During the military regime of General Muhammadu Buhari, Fela was jailed for five years for contravening the foreign currency decree. He, however, spent only a year in prison. He returned to divorce all the 27 wives he married in a day on an account of infidelity. He eventually moved into the 7, Gbemisola Street Allen – Ikeja, Lagos. Kalakuta Republic in 1986.
On this note may I welcome you to the Kalakuta museum, Lagos, Fela’s last abode.
Kalakuta Republic was where Fela lived till he passed away in 1997. His personal belongings were left there untouched for the purpose of history thus; the birth of Kalakuta museum.
My first time at the Kalakuta museum was sometime in July when my believer friend, Funmi, invited me to see what it looks like there. I was overwhelmed with the bit of info I learnt on my first tour, I swore I was going to share a write-up asap.
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Procrastination took a big turn on me as I continued to visit the Kalakuta museum to hangout with my friend until independence day when I met Mallam Okwechime Abdul, a profound journalist and close relative of the late Fela Anukulapo Kuti.
He took me on another tour from the basement of the kalakuta museum to the top floor through every detail of history surrounding the place.
The basement had 6 plaques of some of his hit albums hanging on the wall.. Each album has a story. Fela had over 200 albums in his lifetime.
Ikoyi Blindness as narrated by Mallam Abdul refers to the rich and classy residents of Ikoyi who do not see the suffering and poverty of the masses.
Confusion as written by the late legend relates to the constant confusing traffic situation in Ojuelegba since the time he made the album till now that I write.
Zombie was a critical album on the regimental lifestyles of the military which they had imported into governance..
We marched unto the first floor where it is a gallery section with open arms of pictures that welcomed us into the past memories of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
As we moved on, there was a consuming aura around his personal belongings. His room was left as it was on the day he was taken to the hospital and never returned. This includes his clothes, shoes mattress, refrigerator, fan and other items.
The walls bear smiles, excitement and emotions from his past moments in pictures. A person with a good pair of the eyes would see nothing but freedom and the rage to express it. Each face in the photo has a story.
His personal musical instruments too; piano, guitar and drums were kept in place.
There is another room full of Newspapers publications of his activities. Here also is a typewriter he used in typing the manifesto of his unregistered political party, the MOVEMENT OF THE PEOPLE (M.O.P).
The Kalakuta museum has five tastefully furnished rooms with balconiess that will soon be available for rent to tourists. I wont tell you the beautiful work of art I was privileged to behold in those rooms.
On the stairs leading to the penthouse where there’s a bar/restaurant in which we hangout, I could see more photos that point to the iconic life of Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Heave a sigh with me. That was indeed a journey! You can take on this historic ascent too with just a token. You will be surprised how cheap it is.
Kalakuta museum is currently being managed by one of Fela’s sons, Kunle Kuti.
If you want to see beyond what I have written with your eyes, hit me up in the COMMENT BOX for another time there – I’ll be glad to take you there. I have a testimony below.
That was how I spent my Nigeria’s 57th birthday. Happy Felabration!
“If a man wants to enslave you forever he will never tell you the truth about your forefathers.”