“Who are these ‘world leaders’? Destroyers, man. Not builders. Not creators. But destroyers. You see I can’t accept that my fate be in the hands of such people. Does that seem normal to you? Do you accept the idea that your fate, your last hour on this earth, might depend on someone sitting up in the White House in Washington or up in the Kremlin in Moscow? Is that normal? Not to me, man!
You see what I’m getting at? A handful of unnatural, unbalanced people are ruling this world….Technology industrialization, the machine, they’ve all brought about a progressive loss of respect of life, for nature, for the environment we live in….I’ve rarely met at an African doing the thing he really wanted to do. Most Africans do things cause that is what will bring them status or give them bread. You see man, some people think Power is Money but thats not Power. Power is Knowledge.
A luta continua A luta continua Aluta continua…How can a responsible leader ever want the struggle to continue? War is massacring and killing. How can anybody want that to go on indefinitely? The struggle must STOP!
Since then, thats been my slogan”
I thought it better to let the man speak for himself because I could not presume to express Fela’s magnificence in my own words.
Such is the potency of Fela Kuti’s authorised Biography ‘This Bitch Of A Life’…An intimate portrait of Fela that shines the spotlight on both his brilliance, follies and never-ending battles with various authoritarian Nigerian Regimes that shaped the course of his life.
In this fight for which he ultimately gave his life, Music was his weapon, and his songs continue to echo the sense of disillusionment that prevails in Post-Colonial Africa. The same vices of corruption, war and inequality continue to plague the African Continent inflicted by African leaders who are supposed to be ‘Liberators’, as Africa has become fully ensnared in the web of Globalization through Neo-Colonialism.
In addition, Fela’s prophecy of the effects of Industrialization is all too vivid in this Century as our World stands in the vice-grip of unbalanced individuals.
Fela’s shortcomings are also laid bare including his puzzling attitude to his infection with HIV and his libertarian, but controversial views on Monogamy contrasted with his highly conservative views on Gender relations and Homosexuality.
The one-on-one interviews with each of his wives who numbered 27 at the height of his self-declared independent ‘Republic of Kalakuta’ is particularly interesting, revealing the dynamics of a Polygamous marriage, and that the women were voluntarily engaged in this Polygamous Union out of their own personal respect for Fela and his mission.
Fela fought the oppressive elements of the Nigerian State and the then emerging forces of Globalization through scathing songs that displayed his disappointment at the path Africa and the world were traversing, the pinnacle of which is now being experienced by our generation in the form of global economic crisis and a general sense of frustration at the failure of Capitalism/Industrialization to provide security for all Humanity.
Ultimately, Fela is revealed as more than a Musical genius…He is shown in the light of a Prophet concerned for African people and Humanity at large and his influence on Pop Culture continues today.
The latest Edition of this classic Biography by Carlos Moore is available through African Perspectives Publishing and you can get your copy here.
We leave you with a ‘Best of Fela Kuti Playlist’ and we’ll also be doing a special Podcast of the book discussion conducted at the Book launch reflecting on Fela’s life and legacy which will be available soon.
The documentary ‘Fela Kuti: Music Is The Weapon’ chronicles Fela’s life at the height of his career during some of his most intense confrontations with the Nigerian Government and can be viewed on our YouTube Channel’s ‘Music, Sports & Culture’ Playlist.
The Struggle must Stop!