Fela Africa Shrine: Facts, Push for Musical School

The New Afrika Shrine stands as a testament to Fela Kuti's enduring influence and the power of music to inspire change.
The shrine
The shrineLagos local news

The New Afrika Shrine, located in Ikeja, Lagos, is not just a venue; it's a historical and cultural hub that celebrates the life and legacy of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the legendary Afrobeat pioneer.

In a recent visit to the New Afrika Shrine by Lagos Local News, the security guard and the tourist official, Mr. Martins, shared some fascinating insights about this iconic cultural landmark.

He discussed Fela's unique lifestyle and emphasized why it is crucial for the government to remember and honor him. 

While discussing how the government can immortalize Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Mr. Martins emphasized that one of the most meaningful ways to honor Fela's immense contributions to Nigerian culture and music would be to establish a music school in his name. 

He suggested that this school could serve as a lasting tribute to Fela's pioneering work in Afrobeat and his tireless efforts to address social and political issues through his music.

He said, “Fela Kuti's influence extends far beyond his musical innovations; he was a vocal advocate for the oppressed and used his art as a weapon against corruption and injustice. By creating a music school named after him, the government would not only be preserving his legacy but also fostering a new generation of musicians who could carry forward his message of resistance and empowerment.”

The proposed Fela Anikulapo Kuti Music School could offer a comprehensive curriculum that includes the study of Afrobeat, its history, and its impact on global music. 

Speaking further, he noted, “It could also provide training in various musical instruments, vocal techniques, and performance arts, ensuring that students receive a well-rounded education in both the technical and cultural aspects of music.

Additionally, the school could serve as a cultural center where workshops, seminars, and events focused on social justice and political activism are regularly held. This would align with Fela's vision of using music as a tool for social change and inspire students to engage with important issues in their communities.” He added.

Here are ten captivating facts about the New Afrika Shrine that you need to know:

1. Historical Significance

The New Afrika Shrine is the successor to Fela Kuti's original Shrine, which was a spiritual and musical haven. Fela used the Shrine to express his revolutionary ideas through music, making it a symbol of resistance against political oppression.

2. Location and Accessibility

Currently located at 1 Nerdc Road, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, the Shrine is easily accessible to both locals and tourists. Its previous iterations were destroyed due to Fela's frequent clashes with the government, but the spirit of the Shrine has endured.

3. Cultural Hub

Upon entering, visitors are greeted by vibrant signs, posters, and famous quotes from Fela. The Shrine features food stalls offering local delicacies like suya and pepper soup, merchandise stalls with Fela-themed items, and smoke shops. It’s a bustling environment reflecting the eclectic nature of Nigerian culture.

4. Entertainment Center

The Shrine boasts a large open-air entertainment center with a two-floor setup and a massive, well-lit stage. It is a venue where people from all walks of life gather to enjoy music, food, and drinks, creating a lively and inclusive atmosphere.

5. Femi Kuti's Legacy

Fela's son, Femi Kuti, continues his father's legacy by performing regularly at the Shrine. Known for his energetic performances, Femi also rehearses at the Shrine on Thursdays, offering free entry, and performs on Sundays for a small fee. He holds the Guinness World Record for the longest note held on a saxophone at 51 minutes and 35 seconds.

6. Affordable Experience

The Shrine offers reasonably priced food and drinks, making it accessible to a wide audience. For example, a meal like roast turkey with fries costs about N2,000 (approximately $5.60), and a variety of drinks are available at competitive prices.

7. Security and Safety

Despite the lively and diverse crowd, the Shrine maintains a safe environment with a dedicated team of "shrine police" to manage any unruly behavior. Visitors are advised to be mindful of their belongings, but overall, the venue is secure.

8. Felabration Festival

Felabration is an annual festival celebrating Fela Kuti's life and music. Held from October 14th to 20th, the festival attracts visitors from around the world and features musical performances, parades, photo exhibitions, and debates, making it a must-attend event for fans of Afrobeat and Nigerian culture.

9. Political and Social Impact

Fela Kuti used the Shrine as a platform to address social and political issues, giving a voice to the oppressed masses. His bold stance against governmental corruption and human rights abuses resonated deeply with the public, cementing his status as a cultural icon.

10. An Immersive Experience

The New Afrika Shrine offers an immersive experience into the world of Afrobeat and Nigerian culture. From the historical exhibits to the live performances and the vibrant community atmosphere, visitors are provided with a unique glimpse into the life and legacy of Fela Kuti.

The New Afrika Shrine stands as a testament to Fela Kuti's enduring influence and the power of music to inspire change.

Inside of the shrine
Inside of the shrineLagos local news
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