Fela Kuti’s educative songs and its relevance till date
The late afro beat musician, Fela Anikulapo kuti, after 25 years of his demise, most of the things he sang about, are still relevance till date.
The great philosopher, Fela’s music albums are not limited to:
1972: Shakara Oloje
1972: Trouble Sleep Yanga go wake am
1972: Roforofo fight
1973: Jëun ko ku
1973: Jé’nwi temi
1973: Fefe Naa Efe
1973: Alu Jon Jon Kijon
1974: Alagbon Close
1975: He miss road
1975: Monkey banana/ Excuse o
1975: Everything Scatter – rere run
1975: Water no get enemy/ Expensive Shit
1976: Mr Follow Follow/ Zombie
1977: Sorrow, Tears and Blood
1977: Opposite People
1980: 2000 Blacks got to be free
1986: Just Like that/ Teacher don’t teach me…
1989: Beasts of No Nation
1992: Pansa Pansa/ Underground System
Below are 10 Fela songs which are still very relevant In year 2022, 25 years after his death.
1. ORIGINAL SUFFER HEAD (1981)
This song describes the problems and sufferings that abound in Africa as a continent, despite its rich resources. He condemns the ‘big man’ and ‘white man’ for taking up everything and leaving nothing but suffer and anguish for the average African man.
The economic disparity between Africa and other continents is displayed in the fact that basic resources like food, water, electricity and the likes are still unavailable to a large number of people living in this part of the world.
2. SUFFERING AND SMILING (1977)
Fela describes the life of the average Nigerian who is constantly suffering, but smiling through the pain, believing in the rewards that await them in the afterlife due to the teachings of religious leaders, who themselves live the most lavish lives, enjoying the so-called earthly pleasures. He warns people to open their eyes to this injustice and stop being blind followers of religion.
Things haven’t changed much today, as people still blindly follow religion (and religious leaders), without necessarily understanding its true meaning.
3. INTERNATIONAL THIEF THIEF, ITT (1979)
Fela uses the abbreviation of International Telephone & Telegraph (IT&T) to directly attacked the company’s CEO, and other politicians who continuously betrayed the continent and their fellow Africans in their bid to get rich off the white man’s wealth.
This song is relevant in today’s world as seen in the violence agitation that goes on in the Niger Delta as a result of the insufficient resources and recognition that the region is given despite being the major supplier of oil and the bulk of the county’s wealth.
Politicians are still looting, extorting and selling out their people in their bid to get richer.
4. AUTHORITY STEALING (1980)
This song, like many others, talks about how people in government positions steal and loot the country’s resources daily and go unpunished, while the petty thief are regularly killed and burned. For him, the people in authority are just civilized thieves who get away with their crimes because of their position.
5. COFFIN FOR HEAD OF STATE (1980)
This song also condemns politicians. Here, he speaks about the corruption that abounds in religion, especially by hypocritical leaders.
Today, we still see a great deal of corruption and hypocrisy in the guise of leadership and religion. Our leaders are still stealing from us, but yet are the quickest to attend church programs and quote bible verses.
6. BEAST OF NO NATION (1989)
This song talks about the many unusual happenings in the country and how the citizens all behave like crazy people. It touches political, economic, social matters and talks about the silence of the Nigeria people against government oppression and brutality while speaking up against apathy in foreign nations like South Africa. According to him, these could only happen in a crazy world.
This song remains relevant today as the same hypocrisy and silence in the face of government injustice, injustice is still the order of the day in our beloved country and continent as a whole.
7. YELLOW FEVER (1971)
In this song, Fela warns about the dangers of skin bleaching that was becoming a trend for women. He lists the many unappealing aspects of bleaching and tells women that they were better off leaving their skin in its natural form.
Today, bleaching has become even more rampant than in the times of Fela. According to the World Health Organization, Nigeria has the highest number of women in the world who use skin-lightening products.
8. TEACHER DON’T TEACH ME NONSENSE (1986)
This song highlights the fact that the white man seems to be living our lives for us, while they make their own decisions based on their culture and tradition. The white man, instead of condemning the bad leadership that goes on here, overlooks them while doing the exact opposite in their own countries.
He condemns the so-called democracy and begs Africans to open their eyes and realize that they are being misled and stolen from.
Today, instead of drawing away from the chains of colonialism, we still rely on foreign countries to help us make some of our major decisions and try to imitate every aspect of their lives, forgetting our cultures and traditions in the process.
9. COLONIAL MENTALITY (1977)
He speaks about the fact that Africans have colonial mentality and still live in the past despite having gained independence. They embrace everything foreign and believe theirs to be inferior, from basic things like food and clothes down to their names and religious practices.
This song is still very relevant today, as Africans in general would rather purchase foreign made products and would use foreign names instead of their traditional ones.
Even Presidents go for treatment in foreign countries instead of developing their own health care system.
10. CONFUSION BREAK BONE (1990)
This song talks about the confusion that abides in the country and the lack or proper organisation. His tone here sounds sadder and more resigned to the fact that things might never get better for the country. He highlights all the problems he had mentioned in his earlier songs and says that nothing has changed and wonders at the insanity of things.
Fela has done his own part and gone to great beyond. Fela’s ITT album says “water plenty for Africa but ordinary water for man to drink nko? E no dey! 1990 dem go give us water”
Don’t forget “who killed Dele Giwa” na Baba; if you put ngida na you Sabi.
Year 2022, 25 years after Fela’s demise, he still lives on.