FELA – For Ever Lives Africa.
My earliest contact with the enigma Fela was towards the tail end of the 70s.
That early morning, I stood on our balcony awaiting the delivery of the day’s dailies from our neighbourhood newspaper vendor.
As he approached that fateful morning, he chorused from a distance.
‘Mama Fela don die’.
We didn’t know if to be sad or to be joyous.
Fela’s Kalakuta Republik had been raided by a combined force months earlier and his aged mum was thrown down from the balcony.
The investigative panel revealed the raid was by UNKNOWN Soldiers.
Prior to that time, Fela was the nemesis of all the corrupt military governments. His way of life was also a source of great concern to parents as well. He had married 27 wives in one single swoop earlier too. To many of them, he was wayward and a bad example to the youth.
To be heard by your parent singing his song was disastrous not to talk of going to the SHRINE, his new location in Ikeja after the destruction of the Idi Oro Kalakuta Republik.
I became an ardent follower of his inspirational music upon finishing secondary school and my mum and big brother were greatly convinced I was smoking weed, indian hemp back then.
‘Omo yi tiin mu igbo ooooo’
To think till this present day, I’ve never even put a refined stick of cigarette into my mouth not to talk of weed – ‘Igbo’.
Upon his passage and lying in state at the TBS, Lagos 19 years ago, I came back home battered, bruised and wounded from paying my last respect to the legend.
My mum opened her mouth wide in disbelief, but glad there won’t be a repeat.
‘O kun kun ni lo si iru e mo’
‘You sha won’t be goin to any such again’
Fela was finally dead most people of her generation thought.
Everybody say yeeeah yeeeah !
@ O’Shine ORIGINAL