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Arrested Over 200 Times: Fela Kuti Legendary Nigerian Activist

The Nigerian government saw Fela Kuti and his Kalakuta Republic as a threat.

Fela Kuti
Fela Kuti.

Fela Kuti was a 6 foot 5 inches tallNigerian musician, composer, and political activist who is credited with pioneering the Afrobeat genre of music. He was born on October 15, 1938, in Abeokuta, Nigeria, and died on August 2, 1997, in Lagos, Nigeria.

Kuti's music was a fusion of African rhythms, jazz, and funk, and he used his lyrics to criticize the Nigerian government and social injustices.

Kalakuta Republic was a commune, cultural center, and home of the late Nigerian musician and activist Fela Kuti. It was established in 1977 and located at 14, Agege Motor Road, Idi-Oro, Mushin, Lagos State, Nigeria. The name Kalakuta Republic was coined by Fela Kuti as a way of expressing his disillusionment with the Nigerian government and its treatment of its citizens.

The commune was a haven for artists, musicians, and activists who were fighting against oppression and corruption in Nigeria. Fela Kuti used his music to address social and political issues in Nigeria, and the Kalakuta Republic became a hub for his musical and activist activities.

However, the Nigerian government saw Fela Kuti and the Kalakuta Republic as a threat and launched several attacks on the commune. In 1977, a thousand Nigerian soldiers raided the Kalakuta Republic, beat up the residents, and burned down the buildings.

Fela Kuti's mother, who was also a prominent activist, was thrown from a window during the raid and later died from her injuries. Despite the attack, Fela Kuti continued to speak out against the government and to use his music as a tool for social change which led to his arrest and imprisonment on multiple occasions.

Today, the Kalakuta Republic is remembered as a symbol of resistance against oppression and a tribute to Fela Kuti's legacy. Kuti died on August 2, 1997, from complications related to AIDS, which he had publicly announced his diagnosis of in 1991. His funeral was attended by thousands of people and was a celebration of his life and music.


Afrobeat is a music genre that originated in Nigeria in the 1960s and 70s. It is a fusion of African rhythms, jazz, funk, and highlife music, and was pioneered by the legendary Nigerian musician Fela Kuti.


Afrobeat is characterized by its heavy use of percussion instruments, including congas, bongos, and drums, as well as horns and electric guitars.The music is often accompanied by socially and politically conscious lyrics, and is known for its infectious, danceable rhythms. Fela Kuti, who is often referred to as the father of Afrobeat, used his music as a tool for social and political commentary, and his songs often criticized the Nigerian government and military dictatorship.

Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician and activist, was arrested and jailed numerous times during his lifetime. It is difficult to determine the exact number of times he was incarcerated, but it is estimated that he was arrested over 200 times throughout his career. Fela tackled themes related to political corruption and social injustice, which made him a target for the authorities. He was frequently harassed, beaten, and imprisoned.

Did you know?

Fela Kuti, the Nigerian musician and activist, was known for his love of spicy and flavorful African cuisine.His favorite food was reportedly a traditional Nigerian dish called Egusi soup, which is made with ground melon seeds and typically includes vegetables, spices, and sometimes meat or fish.
Fela also enjoyed other Nigerian dishes such as jollof rice, plantains, and pounded yam.

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