It takes a village, in Fela’s world, to put on a show.
Fela Anikulapo Kuti, October 15, 1938-August 2, 1997
Live, Paris, 1981
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Part 2Vodpod videos no longer available.
1938 Born 15 October in Abeokuta, Nigeria to politically active and middle class family.
1958 Sent to London to train as a doctor, but instead enrolled in the Trinity College of Music. Formed Koola Lobitos in 1961.
1969 Took Koola Lobitos to Los Angeles. His political zeal was fired when he befriended radical black activists including Angela Davis.
1971 Kuti renames his band Afrika 70 (and later Eygpt 80), and, newly politicised, he determines to give voice to Nigeria’s underclass.
1974 After he enraged the Nigerian establishment, the army almost destroyed Kuti’s home while trying to arrest him.
1977 In a second government-sanctioned attack, 1,000 soldiers descended on Kuti’s compound. He suffered a fractured skull, arm and leg in the onslaught and his 82-year old mother was thrown from an upstairs window. He left for voluntary exile in Ghana.
1978 Ghanian authorities deported Kuti back to Lagos. On his arrival he married 27 women simultaneously. Divorcing them in 1986, he said: ‘ no man has the right to own a woman’s vagina’.
1979 Founded his own political party MOP (Movement of the People)
1984 Jailed in Nigeria for five years on what was regarded as sham currency smuggling charges, and released in 1986 after a change of government.
1996 Arrested and released on an alleged drug charge.
1997 Died of complications from Aids aged 59.