Lumumba: Fela Songs Are Still Relevant 20 Years After His Demise

says corruption is Africa's biggest problem & must be tackled through deliberate effort of every individual

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Professor Patrick Lumumba, a Kenyan Professor of Law says the issues that Afro-beat legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti address in his songs were still relevant 20 years after his death.

Lumumba spoke at the 2017 Felabration, with the theme: “40 Years after FESTAC, 20 Years after Fela, Wither the Pan-African Dream?”

Felabration is an annual festival of music and arts conceived in 1998 by Yeni Anikulapo-Kuti in memory and celebration of her father Fela, a Nigerian musician and human rights activist known for pioneering the afrobeat genre of music.

The former director of the defunct Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACC) says corruption which is Africa’s biggest problem must be tackled through deliberate effort of every individual and most especially the politicians.

He says for a corrupt free society to happen, Nigerians and Africans as a whole should immortalise Fela ideas.

Kadaria Ahmed and Patrick Lumumba at Fela Debate

“To achieve a corrupt free society, we must immortalise Fela’s ideas as most of his songs had attested to the fact that he had seen corruption deeply entrenched in everything in Nigerians.

“We need to immortalise Fela’s ideas and make corrections, take positive steps to adjust,” he said.

“I quite appreciate Fela’s non materialistic nature, he never indulged in acquiring material wealth, he had only one house,” he says.

“If Nigeria can get it right politically, African problems will be solved and we will be making progress.

“As patriotic Africans, we must ask ourselves questions of our origin and dig into it.

“Africans must be alive to their challenges and take conscious effort in solving those problems.

The professor while recalling some Fela’s songs, says the ideas the musical icon expound emanated from his observation of the society years back.

”I remember so very vividly, in those early days, when the artists of those days were singing and they were not just singing for singing sake.

”The artists were not writing just for writing sake, they were not doing things just for its own sake, they were making a contribution to the society.

”Those musicians of those days, whether it is Hugh Ramopolo Masekela, Zenzile Miriam Makeba, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, they are all asking a simple question.

Fela Songs Full of Contemporary Messages

He urged Africans to take pride in who they are, shun inferiority complex and seek to know more of their history which would help them to solve present problems.

”The same legitimate question Fela Kuti was asking when he sang the song titled ‘Yellow Fever’.

”He was asking African women, why are you not comfortable with your dark skin?

”When he sang ‘Zombie’, he was asking all of us why have we been zombified?

”Why is that we respond without questioning, he is not asking nonsense.

”When he sang ‘don’t teach me nonsense’, he is asking what are we teaching in Nigeria?

”When he is singing about the international thief thief,, why have we continued to sell our souls to international civilization?

”When Fela was alive, he suffered a fate of many prophets, he was not accepted in his own land., Lumumba stresses.

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