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The Life of Fela Kuti: Africa’s Greatest Musician Of All Time

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Fela Kuti

By Ian Ortega

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The life of Nigerian Musician Fela Kuti pours out ounces of inspiration and a few bites of criticism. Yet, in seeing the ideals he stood for, one would be bribed to actually agree that he was the greatest, justest, most inspiring, most revolutionary African musician of all time.

He achieved a cult like status. Some musicians have been respected for their music. For Fela Kuti it went beyond his music. His music was extremely great. But the message in that music and the will to implement what he sang about is something that amazes me.

He illustrated that music could build the foundations for Africa’s liberation. From inventing a new musical genre and living life on his own terms, to compare Fela Kuti to other counterculture artistes such as Bob Dylan would in a way be an underestimation.

In 1958, his family sent him to England to study medicine. He snubbed their wishes and instead enrolled at the Trinity College of Music. His return to Nigeria was a game changer in the 1960s considering that many of the movements were already winding through Europe and America.

It is believed that Fela Kuti carried back a portion of counterculture revolutionary ideals to Nigeria. He is considered the father of Afro-beat, having blended African rhythms with jazz and funk.

Everyone has a utopia they wish to see realized. Fela Kuti to some extent didn’t wish for his, he created one. My friend Remi Adekoya writes about Fela Kuti in the Guardian;

“Audaciously, he declared his sizable compound in Lagos an independent country, “Kalakuta Republic”, complete with its own constitution and a free health clinic. Kalakuta offered sanctuary to the homeless while students trooped in to take part in debates on Africa’s future. Marijuana, a key part of Fela’s diet, flowed freely. Kalakuta was a libertarian’s dream and a dictator’s nightmare.”

Perhaps Bobi Wine could have borrowed the idea of a “uganja republic” from Fela Kuti whether knowingly or unknowingly.

The government soldiers were later to invade his micro-republic, razing down everything, raping women at will and pushing his 77-year-old mother through a window resulting in injuries that saw her die days later.

Did these events break his spirit? On the contrary, they fueled more of his ‘contrarian’ views. He married 27 women in a single ceremony as a way of hitting back at the authorities. He went on to establish his political party, lambasting authorities. In 1979 he ran for Presidency only to have his candidacy torpedoed by the military.

Of all virtues that he espoused, courage was number one. “My people are scared of the air around them, they always have an excuse not to fight for freedom,” he sang.

His own life was part of the message he preached. He detested mental colonialism that he argued had taken over the African bourgeoisie. You could call him a musical Kizza Besigye. He insisted; “a police uniform is just a piece of clothing sewn by the same tailors who sew your clothes.”

In death, Fela Kuti’s ideas still live on. His music has continued to sell more in spirit than in body. Could a Ugandan music industry produce a musician that is just a fraction of Fela Kuti? Does the industry have the ability to produce that kind of a man?

Perhaps Bobi Wine stood a chance to become that. Yet, he was divided on whether to embrace capitalism or to stand for the things he sang about. Today, he’s chosen to embrace the lighter, brighter, comfortable side.

We could also mention Babaluku, a man who began the Bavubuka Community house in Makindye that taught the youth the true meaning of Hip-Hop.

All in all, Fela Kuti’s utopian ideals may be another long walk to Freedom, but he demonstrated that something could be done to achieve the values he stood for.

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Celebrity Gossip

Mesach Semakula Promises Powerful Performance at “Bwagamba Experience” Concert

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The Golden Band singer Mesach Semakula has promised a powerful performance at his 2019 concert dubbed “Bwagamba Experience”. The concert will take place on Friday 14th June 2019 at Hotel Africana in Kampala.

Speaking to this website, Mesach Semakula revealed that the ““Bwagamba Experience” concert will be a memorable event.

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“I will be performing all my songs since I started for my friends and fans that have supported me for all this years. Preparations for the concert are ongoing. Am working with my team to make sure we give a memorable event,” he said.

The concert comes a few weeks after Mesach Semakula was honored by the Kabaka of Buganda Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II at his 64th birthday celebrations. The Kabaka honoured Mesach with special certificate for his enormous contribution towards the Buganda Kingdom.

Mesach Semakula last held a concert in March 2017. The successful concert dubbed “Totya Bigambo” attracted a huge crowd of revelers.

The “Bwagamba Experience” concert will also have subsequent shows at Colline Hotel in Mukono on Saturday – 15th June, Luweero on Sunday – 16th June, Zebra Spot Kira on Friday – 21st June, Kyotera on Saturday – 22nd June and Maria Flo in Masaka on Sunday – 23rd June 2019.

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Photos: Jose Chameloene Donates Bus to Wakiso Giants FC

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Leone Island CEO Joseph Mayanja alias Jose Chameleone is in a high gear and anxiously campaigning for his mayoral post come 2021.

The ‘Champion’s hit maker unveiled the new travel monster to the local Oscar club Wakiso Giants FC.

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Below is his speech after the official handover of the travel facility.

“It’s was a great morning as I presented a BUS to WAKISO GIANTS FC at the home ground in Wakiso.

Upon my recent travel around the USA 2018,

As I was on my way to Phoenix I fortunately sat next to one kind Man, As we chatted he took me though an adventure of his business. I also shared to him who I was which got him overwhelmed and upon off boarding the flight we shared contacts and promised to reach out each other again.

Yes we did when I met him again In Oregon, we talked about passions in which I told him of what I do beyond music. I love sports and – Wakiso Giants FC my team that I have loved and supported regardless!!

He picked a lot of interest and asked me what best he can contribute to us.

On more talk he mentioned that he had a bus company and asked Whether giving WAKISO GIANTS one would make a change. I was so happy and immediately reached the administration of this team because he only gave a bus to the team and wasn’t responsible to ship and pay tax for it.

Long story short the Bus is finally here and today morning I officially handed it to the team together with the FUFA president Mr. Moses Magogo

I am so proud that we have ability that we can exploit if given a chance. PURPLE SHARKS – Enjoy your bus LEONE ISLAND MUSIC EMPIRE” Chameleone affirmed.

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Photos: Jose Chameloene Donates Bus to Wakiso Giants FC

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Leone Island CEO Joseph Mayanja alias Jose Chameleone is in a high gear and anxiously campaigning for his mayoral post come 2021.

The ‘Champion’s hit maker unveiled the new travel monster to the local Oscar club Wakiso Giants FC.

New TECNO Spark 3 with AI bright camera now available at RRP 429,000 UGX Click here for more

Below is his speech after the official handover of the travel facility.

“It’s was a great morning as I presented a BUS to WAKISO GIANTS FC at the home ground in Wakiso.

Upon my recent travel around the USA 2018,

As I was on my way to Phoenix I fortunately sat next to one kind Man, As we chatted he took me though an adventure of his business. I also shared to him who I was which got him overwhelmed and upon off boarding the flight we shared contacts and promised to reach out each other again.

Yes we did when I met him again In Oregon, we talked about passions in which I told him of what I do beyond music. I love sports and – Wakiso Giants FC my team that I have loved and supported regardless!!

He picked a lot of interest and asked me what best he can contribute to us.

On more talk he mentioned that he had a bus company and asked Whether giving WAKISO GIANTS one would make a change. I was so happy and immediately reached the administration of this team because he only gave a bus to the team and wasn’t responsible to ship and pay tax for it.

Long story short the Bus is finally here and today morning I officially handed it to the team together with the FUFA president Mr. Moses Magogo

I am so proud that we have ability that we can exploit if given a chance. PURPLE SHARKS – Enjoy your bus LEONE ISLAND MUSIC EMPIRE” Chameleone affirmed.

(Visited 1 time, 1 visit today)
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