Today 2nd of August 2016 marks exactly 19 years since the tragic death of late originator of afro pop music, an ativist; songwriter, entertainer, a legend followed by many and also an inspiration to many Nigerian contemporary artist.
Talking of late Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti.
He was born on the 15th October 1938 in the Ancient city of Abeokuta Nigeria and died August 2nd 1997 in Lagos Nigeria at the age of 58.
His mother, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (first woman to drive a car in Nigeria), was a feminist activist in the anti-colonial movement while his father, Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, an Anglican minister and school principal, was the first president of the Nigeria Union of Teachers.
He attended the Abeokuta Grammar School in Abeokuta and later he was sent to London in 1958 to study medicine but decided to study music instead at the Trinity College of Music. There he formed the band Koola Lobitos, playing a fusion of jazz and highlife.
In 1960, Fela married his first wife, RemilekunbTaylor, with whom he would have three children (Femi, Yeni, and Sola).
In 1963, Fela moved back to Nigeria, re-formed Koola Lobitos and trained as a radio producer for the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation. He played for some time with Victor Olaiya and his All Stars.
He churned out hit after hits, like Zombie, Water no get enemy, ITT ( International Thief Thief) amongst others basically targetting the Politically corrupt Nigerian leaders.
He was signed to top leading label at the time. They include Barclay/Polygram, MCA/Universal, Celluloid, EMI Nigeria, JVC, Wrasse, Knitting Factory, Shanachie, Claimed he turned down an American based label ‘Motown' because of their ridiculous offer (Dont forget Motown is associated with the early carrier of the late King of Pop Michael Jackson).
Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a prominent AIDS activist and former Minister of Health, announced his younger brother's death a day earlier from Kaposi's sarcoma brought on by AIDS. It was reported that millions of fans attended Fela's funeral at the site of the old Shrine compound.
The New Afrika Shrine was later opened after the death of the legend in a different section of Lagos under the supervision of son Femi Kuti.