August 2 1997: The Day Fela Anikulapo Kuti Left Us For Immortality

Posted on August 02 2018 , at 12:00 pm
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  • Legends don't die.


It is still hard to say the words, even 21 years after thus, one can only imagine the weight of it when on August 3, Olikoye Ransome Kuti announced the death of his brother, Fela Anikulapo Kuti the day before – this day in 1997.

This was a man who had on countless occasions come face to face with death due to his music and beliefs, yet made it through alive.

A man who had managed to convince 27 Nigerian women to marry him, and on the same day too. Have you tried introducing another woman you’re having an affair with to your wife and lived to tell how that went?

Same man who was monumentally enigmatic, the words in his songs were like gospel to millions (still is, mind you) around the world; much to the chagrin of successive military governments.

His grave in Ikeja

So when Olikoye Ransome-Kuti revealed Fela had passed on, a mixed feeling of shock and that gerrarahere sense of disbelief clouded the nation.

For some, probably the likes of then Head of State, Sani Abacha and many more, they must have heaved a sigh of relief when Fela’s brother made that announcement.

But legends don’t die. They live on everyday in the legacy they leave behind for the rest of us, mortals to continue using. So each day, Fela’s essence remains in the consciousness of each of us – in the sounds of today’s Nigerian stars, in stage plays across the world, in samples of his original sounds used by foreign acts, in tales told of his life … legends just don’t die.

Legends become immortals and August 2 soon transformed from a day of profound sadness back in 1997 into a day that specifically reminds the world of the force Fela’s spirit still commands, 20 years on … and a day.

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