Kalakuta Museum, body art and creative painting | What to do on a weekend in Lagos
Creativity, purpose and freedom was what I experienced on a tour of Kalakuta Museum in Lagos with ‘The Dare Experience’ tour operator.
It was a beautiful Saturday and the heavens were opened to bless someone with showers of rain. It might not have been targeted at us but we were partakers. Rain or not, we were determined to learn about the great musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. In the legends voice, “The show must continue”.
The Kalakuta museum served as Fela’s residence from the 1970’s until his demise in 1997. This fascinating museum has everything intact from his personal items to his album cover and his preserved bedroom.
SOME HISTORY ON FELA ANIKULAPO KUTI
The name "Kalakuta Republic" before it was renamed “Kalakuta Museum” after the icon’s demise, came to Fela when he was imprisoned for the supposed corruption of minors and possession of cannabis in 1974. The government had locked him up for 11 months in a jail called the Kalakuta cell. Upon his release, Fela decided to name his residence Kalakuta Republic.
The Kalakuta Republic was a recording studio and home, for many people in his band. In 1977, Fela and the Afrika released the album “Zombie” and this enraged the government. Kalakuta Republic was attached by thousands of soldiers and they burnt the house. Fela, his queens and everyone at sight were beaten, his master tapes and instruments were burnt while they threw his mother from a window. The late renowned Funmilayo Kuti unfortunately never recovered from it.
Fun Fact about Fela. Fela married 27 of the Kalakuta Queens on one day to mark the anniversary of the attack on Katakuta.
Fun fact about Fela: Fela formed his own political party called Movement of the People. He then changed his slave name from Ransome and adopted Anikulapo which means “to have death in his pouch”
After the musician's death, his children, family and close fans decided to transform his house into a museum where lovers of his songs and ideology can come for remembrance of what Fela stood for during his lifetime.
After the tour of the museum, we hung out on the rooftop of his residence for a fun painting session with ‘5and10kraftzone’. At the start of the painting session, we were handed a picture of Fela. No prior painting skill was required. We just freestyled and expressed our inner artist.
While the creative painting was ongoing, some of us had the opportunity to get body art and for me, face painting from ‘Bash Aleee’. I can’t end this article without mentioning the privilege of meeting some amazing people. It was a vibe amongst the participants.
Final thoughts on visiting the Kalakuta Museum
Fela was famous for using his music to criticize Nigeria's bad and corrupt leadership. His music still inspires a lot of artists till date. He was one of those rebels we all loved, held his own rules high and his love for Justice exceeded the pain imposed on him.
The museum provides a glimpse into the Afrobeat icon’s life and there is a souvenir shop within the museum where you can purchase items.