Seun Kuti, the popular Nigerian singer and son of Afrobeat pioneer, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, has addressed misconceptions about Pan-Africanism and spilled facts about his father’s lifestyle in an Instagram live session.
During the session on Saturday, January 27, 2024, Seun emphasized that the notion that Pan-Africanists must lead lives of struggle and deprivation is false. He used Fela as an example, recalling instances where the legendary musician indulged in the pleasures of life. Seun shared how Fela’s personal assistant would fly from Lagos to London to bring back Fela’s favorite sweets and ice cream.
In his words, “Anybody in this world that says to you that to be a Pan Africanist, to struggle means to suffer is a liar. Fela Anikulapo Kuti too na liar? Fela no be Pan Africanist? You lick ice cream to reach Fela? Fela dey send his PA Tuesday morning flight to London, that one go arrive for London, e go leave 10 am, e go arrive London 3 pm, he has to go to Bonds street to buy Fela’s favourite sweets.”
“The only sweet wey Fela dey lick, they sell it in Bonds street, it’s called Bonds of London, that is the name of the sweet, I can never forget. Femi Foto, Femi Bankole Osunla, that’s his full name, in the evening e go come back with the return flight, he’s back in Lagos the next morning with Fela’s sweet and ice cream,” He argued.
Seun challenged critics who questioned Fela’s identity as a Pan-Africanist due to his enjoyment of life, stating, “So that means Fela is stupid? He’s not a Pan Africanist because he liked to lick ice cream? The only thing he should lick because he’s a Pan Africanist is donkuwa and make him drink agbo, he must not enjoy the sweet cream of this life. Is that your idea of Pan Africanism?”
Seun Kuti’s comments provide insight into the multifaceted nature of Pan-Africanism, challenging stereotypes and celebrating the diverse ways individuals can contribute to the movement while enjoying the pleasures of life.