Fela Kuti Quotes That Will Always be Remembered

I’ve compiled some of the most powerful Fela Kuti quotes.

Fela Kuti was born on October 15, 1938, and died on August 2, 1997. He was a multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activist, and Pan-Africanist from Nigeria. He is widely considered as the father of Afrobeat, an African music genre that fuses West African music with American funk and jazz. At his peak, he was described as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers.”

Kuti was the son of Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, a Nigerian women’s rights activist. He and his band Africa 70 rose to prominence in Nigeria during the 1970s. He was an outspoken critic and target of Nigeria’s military juntas.

Kuti established the Kalakuta Republic commune in 1970, declaring independence from military rule. The commune was destroyed in a raid in 1978. He was imprisoned by Muhammadu Buhari’s regime in 1984, but was released after 20 months. Until his death in 1997, he continued to record and perform throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

26 Fela Kuti Quotes

  1. “My people are scared of the air around them, they always have an excuse not to fight for freedom,”

2. “I must identify myself with Africa. Then I will have an identity.”

3. “Music must awaken people to do their duty as citizens and act.”

4. “To be spiritual is not by praying and going to church. Spiritualism is the understanding of the universe so that it can be a better place to live in.”

5. “I did wrongly was for experience. That’s how I see it.  Once a man is looking for a better knowledge and he tries to be honest and truthful in all endeavours, then his life is just an experience. It cannot be a regret.”

6. “A radical is he who has no sense…fights without reason…I have a reason. I am authentic. Yes, that’s what I am.”

7. “I refuse to live my life in fear.”

8. “Music is a weapon of the future / music is the weapon of the progressives / music is the weapon of the givers of life.”

9. “That is my best friend because it is a gift of the creator to Africans. It is a spirit. Marijuana has five fingers of creation…it enhances all your five senses.”

 Fela Kuti quotes

10. “With my music, I create change…I am using my music as a weapon.”

11. “The secret of life is to have no fear.”

12. “I don’t tell lies about anybody. That’s why i win all my wars.”

13. “Marriage is a terrible institution, it creates such a regression of the mind.”

14. “The music of Africa is big sound: it’s the sound of a community.”

15. “In Nigeria they convict by law, not by the truth.”

16. “When you start to think of revenge, you start to think of hate. I don’t believe in hating people. It’s a retrogressive thing.”

17. “I believe in pan-Africanism. This means that in many things – the judiciary, sports, economics and trade – we want Africanism to be involved, which is basically more freedom for the people.”

18. “Spiritually speaking, every human being has a destiny and a duty to perform.”

19. “A police uniform is just a piece of clothing sewn by the same tailors who sew your clothes.”

20. “Even death doesn’t worry me, man. When my mother died it was because she finished her time on earth. I know that when I die I’ll see her again, so how can I fear death?”

21. “Our prisons are very bad. When I was in Ikoyi prison, people were dying every day. They were carrying bodies out of the prison every day.”

22. “In America we talk about South Africa, but I tell people that apartheid is nothing compared to what is happening in my country where black oppresses black.”

23. “If I became president now I would immediately pass a law that makes every citizen a policeman or a soldier.”

 24. “The human spirit is stronger than any government or institution.”

25. “When I was young we weren’t even allowed to speak our own languages in school. They called it ‘vernacular,’ as if only English was the real tongue.”

 26. “I realized that you cannot think European and want to write or create something African. You have to think African in everything.”

My favorite Fela Kuti quotes are, “The secret of life is to have no fear.” and “The human spirit is stronger than any government or institution.”

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