So, Twitter was on fire yesterday, July 3rd, 2018 as fans of the Afrobeat legend, Fela Anikulakpo Kuti, (of blessed memory) took to this social media platform to share fond memories of the departed legend, following the historic visit of the French President, Emmanuel Macron to the New Afrika Shrine. Though his demise from the world has been over 2 decades now, Fela’s lasting legacy seems to grow stronger by the day so much so that it seems he is still alive. Suffice it to say that Fela was and still is one of the greatest African musical icons to be celebrated worldwide.
French President Macron, yesterday made history as the first president to ever visit the New Afrika Shrine and celebrate the African culture with Nigerians. Though not his first visit to the shrine as he used to visit it when he was working at the French Embassy in Nigeria.
Celebrating the Afrobeat legend, excited fans took to social media to share posts on Fela’s musical expertise as well as appreciate his relevance and international status, though, he is dead. While alive, Fela was a renowned musician, composer and multi-instrumentalist, a forerunner of the Afrobeat music genre, human rights activist and political nonconformist.
Governor Akinwumi Ambode alongside with other Lagos state government officials and a number of celebrities were also in attendance. The Lagos State Commissioner for Tourism, Steve Ayorinde said, “It’s a pleasant surprise that Macron chose to celebrate the cultural scene in Lagos,”
With events showcasing theatre, music, and fashion, the French President is expected to launch the African Cultural Season scheduled to take place in France in 2020. This choice of venue for the launch was a surprise to many Nigerians considering its affiliation with the anti-establishment musician.
Ayorinde, however, calmed this surprise when he said, “But it didn’t come as a shock, knowing that France is a very cultural country and knowing that Macron is a young president.”
Before coming to Lagos, Macron made a brief stop at Abuja to see the President Buhari to deliberate on plans to strengthen closer ties between France and Nigeria and to improve trade with French colonies and other Anglophone countries.
As far as tweets go, here are some posts by fans:
ETYNOBA (@Etyn_oba) wrote, “The only international music I hear repeatedly even on ferries in Singapore is Fela Kuti. He’s known and celebrated outside Nigeria.”
Balogun of Ekiti (@Sammiejexie) wrote, “Even in death Baba Fela lives… Truly he has death in his pouch… Anikulapo #CelebrateAfricanCulture.”
Mayowa Adekanye (@mayowaadekanye) wrote, “The idea of Fela goes beyond music. The man preached mental independence and stood against neo-colonialism in Africa with everything he had. Music was just one of his tools”
What are your thoughts about this musical legend? Let’s share in the comment section below.