Legendary Fela Kuti was the creator and god of Afrobeat and so many fans all over the world are interested in everything that has to do with their icon, who was also a Nigerian legend and music activist who spoke the truth without fear of what the government could do to him.
Fela Kuti, the god of Afrobeat The man is known far and wide in Nigeria and outside as the pioneer of Afrobeat, an unusual and totally unique blend of many styles of music: jazz, fuji, high-life and more. Due to this invention and his activism, he became insanely popular during the prime of his musical career and, again, due to it, he remains a star of African music and the king of many musical styles, as well.
This popularity has caused the never-ceasing interest towards everything in his life, beginning with his early childhood and ending with his death and its cause. Eventually, there are several versions of the cause of his death which has only warmed up the interest of fans. The official version says that the king of Afrobeat had HIV/AIDS. However, nobody knows for sure because while alive, Fela never trusted medicine from the Western world.
When he happened to fall ill with something, he was more likely to turn to native African methods of treatment and medications rather than Western examinations and medications. Closer to the end of his life, Fela had intimate intercourse with an incredible number of women, including the 27 women he had as his wives. He was reported to have denied the existence of HIV and said that it was a “disease of white men.” Also, he treated condoms extremely negatively, claiming that they were totally non-African. Closer to his death, Fela Kuti had characteristic skin lesions, which are found on the skin of AIDS sufferers. These wounds develop out of the smallest skin injury because the immune system cannot fight infections and the body is no longer able to regenerate tissues. However, Fela Kuti convinced everybody that the lesions appeared because of the process of “new skin growth” associated with spiritual renewal.
In fact, the dramatic weight loss everybody noticed right before Fela’s death, the skin disorders, and many other signs showed all too clearly that he was suffering from Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of slow skin cancer associated with HIV/AIDS. Some of former Fela’s wives denied his HIV diagnose. They claimed the cause of his death was the severe beating he received when his house was attacked. He was beaten almost to death and his old mother was thrown out of the window, which caused her death too. Fela Kuti died on August 2, 1997. This was the date the world lost one of its greatest talents, an outstanding musician and a fearless freedom fighter.
Goodnight ‘Abami Eda’
LIFE AND TIMES – A CHRONICLE1938 – 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 polical zeal was ﬁred when he befriended radical black acvists including Angela Davis. 1971 – Fela renames his band Afrika 70 (and later Egypt 80), and, newly policised, 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 the window of a storey building. He left for voluntary exile in Ghana. 1978 – Ghanian authorities deported Fela 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 women’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 complicaons from Aids aged 59.