An Open Letter to Fela Anikulapo Kuti

As a writer, you should know by now that I can’t keep quiet. Even when I do,  my fingers won’t stay still. My skill compels me.

That’s why I’ve written an Open Letter to Fela. Not Durotoye.

Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

I know he isn’t alive, but pardon me, these issues I have brimming in my mind are matters of death and life. You get?


So, Dear Fela,

I hope you’re resting in peace, as they call it? Preparations are kicking off over here for the Felabration event, you know.


Excuse me, I didn’t introduce myself. My name is Demilade. I blog, write and teach people how to write, when I’m not at my 9-5 Editorial Assistant job at Farafina.


I accept that there might be a lot about that I do not know, probably because I was quite the young child when you were the rave in Nigeria…


But there are things I know.

I know that you were a political revolutionary. Probably Nigeria’s very own Mandela (I don’t mean to compare, at all). I heard you got arrested  times and I wonder how you were able to stand your ground all through that time.


I know that you faced opposition from he military a lot and experienced loss of properties countless times because of US. We Nigerians.


For that, I doff my hat. You thought it worth it to die for rights. Our rights. You are in our thoughts as we sing ‘the labour of our heroes past’. 

You must be.


I also know the 25 wives in one day part. 

Hear me out first… 

I wonder what made you do that. Was it a weakness you couldn’t control? Or were you just wondering what it must have felt to be King Solomon?


I know that you smoked and drank…a lot. And I wonder, did you ever look back in retrospect and wish you hadn’t?


I ask because, over here on this end, your people are going crazy.

Codeine, Shisha, Weed…They are smoking every single thing they find.

Was it a means of escape for you, Fela? Did it take the pain away, or make you so high you floated above Nigeria’s troubles?


Anyway, I know something else. That I won’t be going for this year’s Felabration.

This is why: Three days ago, in a commercial tricycle, I found myself discussing about the event and attending (I mean, Adekunle Gold will be there!) when I was stopped in my tracks.


‘Its not for the uninitiated…

‘If you’re going, take like 50 people with you…

‘Plenty cultists will be there…


Fela, I was shook.


Is this how you’re remembered?

With smokes? And violence?

Why are people bent on copying probable weaknesses you had, instead of your strengths. Instead of your revolutionary mind and mouth.


Are they ‘Zombies’?

Or being taught by history teachers who teach nonsense?

Are they blind to those still in power who Chop and Clean Mouth?

Or the different Kalakuta wey dey show up and down this Nigeria?


Dear Fela,

I’m not going for this year’s Felabration. 

If this is how they choose to remember you.

P.S Share with that friend that would love to read this!

14 comments

  1. Ademayowa · October 19

    You write really good Demilade.

    • demilhadey · October 19

      Thank you Mayowa! Some people like this encouraged me to be more consistent… 😏😉

  2. Olaomoju Michael · October 19

    Why are people bent on on copying your probable weakness you had,, instead of your strength.instead of your revolutionary mind and mouth.

    This did it for me, keep it demmy…… More gace

    • demilhadey · October 19

      I’m glad it helped, Michael!

      Thank you. Comment more often too! 🙂😘

  3. David Egwede · October 19

    Awesome right up Demilade, you bring in that spectacular vibe whenever you write. Thank you for this piece, I once felt weird for admiring some of Fela’s traits, reading this makes me feel less awkward.

    • demilhadey · October 20

      Hi David! Its a delight to read your comment. Thank you for these nice words. You and I know you have stories running around in your head ( Hint: Finding Salaam post) 😉

      As long as its the good traits, I think admiration is fine. Just like Mandela. His family life wasn’t quite great, but his patriotism and sincerity is 🙌

  4. Ihuoma Onu-Okpara · October 20

    Unfortunately, I went for this year’s own, and I swore that that was the first and last time I would ever go near the Fela Shrine.
    The part about the weed and everything else smokable is so true. I didn’t smoke anything, but my whole being reeked of marijuana courtesy the people around me.
    Yes please! Take someone with you, leave your valuables at home, or in the car, and make sure you’re at alert all the time.

  5. Ihuoma Onu-Okpara · October 20

    Unfortunately, I went for this year’s own, and I swore that that was the first and last time I would ever go near the Fela Shrine.
    The part about the weed and everything else smokable is so true. I didn’t smoke anything, but my whole being reeked of marijuana courtesy the people around me.

    Yes please! Take someone with you, leave your valuables at home, or in the car, and make sure you’re at alert all the time.


    P. S – I belong to the school of thought that believes Fela was grossly overrated!!

    • demilhadey · October 20

      Wow! Ihuoma. Thats just a confirmation of what I was told! Thanks for sharing this…🙂

      I hope you weren’t robbed or anything?

      • Ihuoma Onu-Okpara · October 20

        Naa, I left my phone and purse in the car.
        I wasn’t ready for stories that touch the heart.

  6. nckan · October 20

    Amazing! I keep asking myself if I could allow someone else beat me up for the sake of Nigeria. It’s a very deep question every Nigerian should consider. I know some folks would counter with: “What has Nigeria done for me?” Well Nigeria did only one thing to Fela, we beat the pulp out of him. Amazing perspective too. I really enjoyed how you tried thinking through his decision to smoke and marry a lot wives. I love this piece. I hope people get to read and run with the vision. Not the trivial festival, we’ve turned the Felabration that is being organized.

  7. Abygaiyl · October 20

    What a Legacy and to think that he died from a terminal illness as a result of his not so decent lifestyle. Sometimes I feel like the youth of these times require some help with fixing their priorities in terms of what they celebrate.
    Now I’ve found someone who’s quite in sync with me on this. I really like the thought that went into writing this. Thanks Demmy. You’re a Diamond.

    • Abygaiyl · October 20

      What a Legacy and to think that he died from a terminal illness as a result of his not so decent lifestyle. Sometimes I feel like the youth of these times require some help with fixing their priorities in terms of what they celebrate.
      Now I’ve found someone who’s quite in sync with me on this. I really like the thought that went into writing this. Thanks Demmy. You’re a Diamond.

  8. Pingback: Hey Writers. Here are some writing tips for the New Year! | The Demilade Olafisoye blog

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