By Osagie Alonge
The name ‘Kuti’ draws a lot of attention and respect not just in Nigeria but beyond the shores, into every nook and cranny in Africa and beyond…
The most prominent of the Kuti’s would have to be the multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of Afrobeat music Fela Anikulapo Kuti but before the social critic thought of having a change in name, he had an esteemed blood line. Let’s go through his family background.
Fela’s father Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti – a churchman, educationist and administrator was the founding president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), Africa’s largest professional group. A B.A. Degree holder, Kuti held the position as NUT president for 23 years before retiring at the age of 63 years. He is also credited for forming the first Boy Scout Troupe in the country. He was married to Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.
A quick look at Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’s life and you will be awed by such strong character the woman held while she was alive. Little wonder many often referred to her as ‘The Mother of Africa’. A traditional aristocrat and women’s rights activist, Funmilayo was the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car and to ride a bike. She bore four children for her husband – Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, Bekolari Ransome-Kuti and Dolupo Ransome-Kuti.
Without going into much details, you would find out that these children grew up to be very important and influential persons in their society; Olikoye became a pediatrician, activist and a one-time health minister, Fela – the originator of a whole new genre which has gone on to inspire millions; Bekolari – a Nigerian medical doctor known for his work as a human rights activist and Dolupo Ransome-Kuti – mother of popular Jazz singer Frances Kuboye.
Towing down the line of the Afrobeat maestro Fela, we can see that the apples so-to-say haven’t fallen far from the tree; out of his numerous children he had with his 27 wives. Yeni Kuti – the eldest child, once a prominent choreographer for the afro beat band Positive Force and brain behind the annual Felabration event, led by her brother Femi Kuti – the two-time Grammy Award nominated Afrobeat icon and another Afrobeat act Seun Kuti have become respected and recognized individuals in the society
So it would only be natural for Femi and Yeni’s off springs to show promise right from their young ages. Femi’s son Made whom his separated wife Funke Kuti bore for him is quite a talented kid. From the age of five he had graced the same stage with his father at different shows. Made who will be 16 in September now plays the saxophone, guitar and piano excellently and might just be the next Kuti to start making his own music, if he hasn’t already.
There’s also Rolari Segun, a product of Yeni Kuti and diplomat Femi Segun. Even though Yeni and Femi have been separated for long, they were both spotted at their 23-year-old daughter’s graduation ceremony at the University of Leeds in the UK. Rolari came back to the country briefly and has returned to the UK.
Here are a few pictures of the new Kutis on the block…
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