onewild thought

A collection of our views, rants and thoughts on design, branding, communication, and any other thing we find interesting.

Trek ’97:The walk for a man who had death in his pouch.

I sat and listened as my colleagues recounted to me what really happened on August 11th 1997. Afterwards, i went on my own journey and found the Abami Eda in his life, his music and his immortality.

I know well of the story of the man that was buried that day; Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. He influenced entire generations from all over the world, He created something genuinely explosive; Afrobeat.

Afrobeat is boisterous and hearty, full of horns, poetry and staggered rhythm. It was born from a rebel in a time of rebellion and cried out anti-establishment ideology that spoke to the people of the hard struggling Nigerian grassroots.

Afrobeat started as a form of outcry, now it is the unofficial anthem of Nigerians and can be heard live in the cafes, bars, clubs and concerts of New York, London, Paris, New Orleans, San Francisco etc.

To everyone he met, Fela was a genius, a composer. Many have compared him to the likes of Beethoven and Mozart. In the early 70s, he built a commune which he named ‘The Kalakuta Republic’. He was an avid believer in the traditional african religions and often performed ceremonies during his shows at the African Shrine. Fela’s spirit ran deep and strong in the hearts of the people.

His funeral was preceded by three days of processions as his family debated where to hold the lying in state. Fela’s family did not expect more than 300 people to attend. It was attended by more than one million people and brought the city of Lagos, a city of more than five million people at the time, to a complete standstill.

The funeral was truly a festival, people cried openly in the streets and Fela’s records could be heard playing as though from everywhere and nowhere.

The lying in state was held at the open arena of Tafawa Balewa Square. Around the Square were giant signs announcing ‘BABA 70’ and a coffin, all of glass, was placed on a raised dais.

Nigerians from all walks of life and all ethnicities filed past in silence, there was no shoving or pushing. The man, even in death, held the world in silent awe.

After the ceremony, the funeral procession began.

Trek 97

 

Close to two million people trekked 28 kilometres in 7.2 hours from Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos Island to Fela’s home at Gbemisola Street, Ikeja, that’s like driving at 4km/hr on a Lagos road.  Imagine a car on an otherwise busy road moving at an almost snail’s pace. The length of Ikorodu road was jam packed and crawling for the amount of time to get from Lagos to London or leave earth’s atmosphere into space.

All businesses were closed, there was singing and dancing and the air was full of billowing clouds of Marijuana smoke. As Fela was lowered into his grave in accompaniment to a dirge blown on the Saxophone by Femi, his eldest son, a dusty rain started to fall.

The vault was sealed and guarded.

Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Abami Eda, Omo Eleniyan, the people’s president and the music he created as well as the life he led and principles he believed in represented the spirit of truth. He was the voice of the tired and trampled, a clenched fist and a voice raised in defiance.

I saw with new eyes and a freshly taken breath.

The man with death in his pouch lives on.

Fela

The Fela Paper Review #OneWildThought

 

You know those days when you give yourself excuses not to rise up from the bed? When you ask yourself,  “what’s the worst that will happen? Okay I get fired, but I have savings…” Today is one of such days.

I got to the office bleary eyed and in a foul mood. Is it just me or the time when you feel like hitting people is when people around you are overly cheerful? Like my colleagues, one was laughing so cheerfully I had to grit my teeth to have some control.

As I stepped in with my sneakers, I saw Yinka and Moriam bouncing about in tandem to Fela’s ‘I no be Gentleman’.

“Am I missing something or you people just want to be annoying this morning?”

“Who is playing Fela?”

“I’m the one oh ” answered Moriam,  “or should I turn it off? “

“Of course not”

I rolled my eyes and slagged on my chair.

Boss had gone for a meeting.

“…E be say you be colonial man

You don be slave from before

Dem don release you now but you never release yourself…” sang Moriam.

“Oya talk true, he talk sense abi he no talk sense?”

I had no choice but to laugh and immediately my bad mood lifted and the sun shone through.

“He talk sense! “

“Ehehn! Even today, his words are still effective. Take this Colonial Mentality for instance… I swear, I just love his songs”

Yinka jumped in “one the best songs of his, in my opinion is Overtake Don Overtake…”

“I love that one too” cut in Moriam “that man is a religion. You’re either in or out. And he gave some hard knocks. Imagine if he’s alive today”

“It’ll be bloody!”

“You two, you know we get work ba?” I dropped that deliberately.

Yinka turned to me with a frown “we dey hold your hand? We’re working. Abi you don’t know today’s Baba’s day? He died today”

“Oh really? I didn’t… “

Suddenly Yinka clapped and we jumped. With his eyes twinkling in excitement, he moved closer and placed his hands on my desk.

“Hey! I’ve got an idea! How about we make it like he reviews issues…”

“How?” Said I and Moriam at the same time.

“Okay” he pulled a chair, “we make it like memes yeah. You know his pictures, he has many expressions that we can adapt to issues. Like, this issue of Etisalat name change, we can put a short note about it then his picture laughing… “

“Oh! Nice!”

I put on a straight face “still don’t get it”

Annoyed, he turned to Moriam

“You, you get it abi?”

“Yes I do, we can work with it” That Moriam girl, she doesn’t know anything about sticking up for your sex at all.

Surprisingly, we ran it by our boss and he loved it. Our #onewildthought.

This kills me but I do think it’s a great idea.

Below are samples of our #onewildthought. Let’s know what you think.

 

Fela Fela

Fela

Fela