Visiting the Kalakuta Republic has been on my wishlist since before I stepped my feet in Eko because I have always been fascinated with Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Queens. So when I got the chance of visiting the Kalakuta Republic I was beyond ecstatic.
Growing up I listened to the iconic Fela Kuti and always wondered about his story and legacy.
Some time last year I got the opportunity of visiting the Kalakuta Republic which is the home of Fela Kuti but I couldn’t enter the museum so I didn’t write about it.
On February 10th 2018, my friends – Paula, Inemesit, Iyanu and Bolu and I decided to take a little adventure and visit the controversial Kalakuta Republic.
For those that do not know Fela Kuti, he was a Legend the founder and Father of Afro beats in Nigeria and Africa. A Political activist and a civil right movement leader who fought for the rights of the mere Nigerian.
Back in the day of my parents Fela Kuti spoke against the injustices he saw in his country Nigeria, he spoke against the then military government and received a lot of negativity for all he said through his amazing afro beats sound.
He was beaten, abused, boycotted, his house was burnt down, his people beaten and battered, he was accused to a lot of crimes and was imprisoned.
Listening to Fela feels like walking the path of history from the view of an outspoken Nigerian Man in the times of political unrest. Some of his best songs include Unknown Soldier, Zombie, Teacher don’t teach me Nonsense, Fellow fever, Lady to mention a few.
I dare say there is no song Fela sang that didn’t make sense and didn’t pass a message across to his audience.
Kalakuta Republic was founded by Fela Kuti, he named his home after the first jail cell he ever slept in being that he was detained for a song he sang about the government. It is loacated at No. 7 Gbemisola st, Allen Ikeja Lagos State, Nigeria.
His then home was the first Kalakuta Republic which was later burnt down by an “unknown soldier” as the judge called ruled out the case in court that the act was perpetrated by an unknown soldier. Fela sang about this injustice in one of his songs.
The Kalakuta republic ran differently it was a city within a city. Day was night and night day. There was no short of music, art and laughter as it was a land of creatives from all parts of the country.The official language was pidgin or English for easy communication and unity. Every man had a right and so did the women, the Kalakuta Queens where the electric dancers that lit up the stage during Fela’s performance.
Fela who was the father to all made sure everyone had everything they needed and they were all taken care of.
Our tour guide the very patient Mr A took us around the 4 story buiding that is Kalakuta Republic and I enjoyed every bit of our tour.
He gave us first hand encounters of the experiences the Political Activist Fela Kuti faced in the hands of the then Nigerian Government and through his eyes I got the see Fela in another light.
5 things I learnt from my visit:
i. BE BOLD and do not stop until you achieve your dreams. Fela was threatened, beaten and abused but he never took the easy way out.
ii. LEGENDS ARE NOT BORN BUT MADE. Enduring so much hatred and receiving so much love made Fela into the legend he is today.
iii. THE HEART OF MAN IS WICKED. Humans naturally do not like hearing the truth and your art may suffer because of this human trait. Remaining true to yourself and your truth is very important. You may lose some people and receive hate but your audience is out there just waiting to discover you so keep pushing.
iv. LOVE WHAT YOU DO AND DO WHAT YOU LOVE. Our tour guide Mr. A is the definition of a man doing what he loves. He took us on a tour and answered every question we had effortlessly and even let us fool around a bit taking lots of pictures.
v. DO NOT BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU HEAR. Kalakuta has a reputation of being the “smokers place” where “drug addicts” visit, but people fail to talk about how amazing the museum is and what a legend Fela kuti is.
My eyes have been open and so has my heart. I absolutely love everything Fela related and my visit increased this love immensely, because the man fought for a purpose and achieved his purpose. My country and my persent generation owe alot of our freedoms to this legend.
My favorite song will always remain Fela Kuti– Lady. Everyone has their demons he fought his he wasnt perfect but he was and will always remain a LEGEND.
If you are in Lagos or come visiting you can visit the Kalakuta Republic take a tour say hi to the tour guide and tell him Destiny and her friends say hi. A tour is very inexpensive just one thousand naira ( N1000 ) per person worth every penny.
I hope you enjoyed My Eko Tales and I hope you had a lovely weekend.
Have an amazing week ahead if you are down you can sit back and listen to Fela Kuti and catch up with some Nigerian history.
Have you ever heard of Fela and his music? What’s your favorite song? Ever been to the Kalakuta Republic? Do you want to go? Share below in the COMMENT section. Love D.A♥