Nollywood actor and TV
personality, Segun Arinze,
says Afrobeat legend, Fela
Anikulapo Kuti, was a prophet
but throughout his life, he never
got the respect he deserved at
Fela’s elder brother, Olikoye
Ransome-Kuti, a former
minister of health, announced
his death from complications
related to HIV and AIDS on
August 2, 1997.
In an interview with the NAN
on Wednesday, Arinze said the
issues Fela addressed in his
works were still relevant.
“He is a great icon and till date,
his music still stands relevant.
Most of those things he said in
all his songs are prevalent till
date.” he said.
“He was like a prophet but as
the saying goes, a ‘prophet is
not respected in his home town’,
which is exactly what played
out in his life.
“We still keep hope that the
society will continue to imbibe
the messages he left behind for
the much needed change to
Arinze described Fela as a
great artiste who understood
how to use music to pass on
messages. He said Fela started
passing messages before other
activists started using music
to propagate worthy and good
“And of course, he was being
recognised by the government,
people and the society; Fela was
great, we can never forget him
in Nigeria, Africa and the world stage.
“It even got to a level of staging
a play in his honour, Fela on
Broadway; what else can you ask
for?” he asked.
Arinze said Fela’s works
encouraged other musicians in
Nigeria to pass positive messages
through music.
He said musicians should learn,
live and share experiences with
people in their works.
Fela was a Nigerian multiinstrumentalist,
pioneer of the Afrobeat music
genre, human rights activist, pan-
Africanist, polygamist, mystic,
legend and political maverick.
He was born on October 13,
1938, in Abeokuta into an uppermiddle
class family.
His mother, Funmilayo
Ransome-Kuti, was a woman
activist and his father, Israel
Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, was
an Anglican minister and school
Fela was a cousin of Nobel
laureate Wole Soyinka.
Because of his social activism, he
ran into trouble on many occasions
with the military regimes in
Nigeria in the 1970s and 1980s and
was constantly jailed.

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