News Brief

Fela Kuti's Home To Become A National Museum in Nigeria

The Ogun State Government is planning to turn the afrobeat legend's ancestral home into a museum.

This year, which marks the 20th anniversary of Fela Kuti's death, will see the Ransome-Kuti family get a distinguished recognition from the Nigerian government, in collaboration with the Ogun State.

The Ransome-Kuti's ancestral home in the state's capital of Abeokuta will be turned into a museum, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, and Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, confirmed to Punch.

"We have always said that one of the important assets we have is our cultural heritage, our history and this project, which is going to immortalise the Ransome-Kuti family, is laudable and admirable," Lai Mohammed told Punch.

"The family, as you know, represent different things to different people, whether you talk about education, emancipation, music or entertainment. Therefore, this attempt by the government at immortalising the family by preserving and restoring the ancestral home is very commendable."

The Ransome-Kuti's ancestral home in the Ogun State capital of Abeokuta.

Credit: Etcetera9ja via Konbini


The new museum will be called the Heritage Museum and is set to open next year.

Governor Amosun added that "the Kuti family is one of those illustrious families that conquered the world, not only Ogun Sate or Abeokuta or Nigeria . Indeed, at times when I am away in the US and I take a cab, the music I hear is that of great Fela himself."

"Fela was far ahead of his time. For us, it will be in our interest to let people know his origin, his root," he told Punch.

Everybody say "Yeah Yeah!"

Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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