Today makes it exactly 23 years since Fela Anikulapo Kuti, legendary Nigerian singer, passed away at 58. If life is indeed measured by impact, those who had a front-row experience of Fela’s gripping influence on the global music landscape or merely gleaned about him from the pages of books would easily agree that he was one of the biggest music personalities of his time.


The attendant commendations that have continued to trail his exploits — years after his death — are symptomatic of the truism in the age-long saying that when a legend dies, his legacy lives on.

Fela was not only a legend, but he was also one in a class of his own. Like a metal gong calling at dawn, his name resonated across the country’s music landscape for his nonconformity personality and raging penchant to challenge the status quo.

He barely saw any need for love-related themes in his songs. He only wanted to challenge the authority and speak truth to power through his music not minding whose ox is gored.


A potpourri of bravery and love for black freedom, Fela’s ideology inspired the birth of protest music in the country.

In the 1970s and 1980s, his songs, which were targeted deeply-rooted societal ills such as corruption, bad leadership, colonialism, police brutality among others became a street anthem.

Years after Fela’s death, his exemplary life, and towering legacies continue to offer hope and strength to mankind.


TheCable Lifestyle examines 10 hit songs of the music legend who passed away on August 2, 1997.


‘Shakara’ — 1972

‘Roforofo Fight’ — 1972


‘Coffin for Head of State’


‘Sorrow Tears and Blood’ — 1977

‘International Thief Thief (I.T.T.)’ — 1980

‘Upside Down’ — 1976

‘Expensive Shit’ — 1975

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