Felabration, an annual festival honouring the legendary Fela Kuti, filled the heart of Lagos with the rhythmic beats and vibrant melodies of Afrobeat. Despite the festival’s celebration of Kuti’s musical ingenuity and Afrobeat’s global influence, this year’s event was tinged with sadness as Nigeria continues to struggle with the issues that Kuti fiercely advocated against, according to a report by Al Jazeera.
Now in its 25th year, Felabration has evolved beyond a musical extravaganza to become a poignant reminder of Kuti’s unwavering activism against governmental corruption, human rights abuses, and bad leadership. The festival serves as a mirror reflecting the persistent socio-political ills that plague Nigeria.
Despite the festival’s energetic ambience, attendees were confronted with the harsh realities of a nation still grappling with issues such as corruption, poverty, and police brutality. Kuti’s messages, woven into the fabric of his music, have endured, highlighting the continuity of struggles from the past into the present.
The festival also brought to the fore the fading echoes of advocacy in contemporary Nigerian music. Although Kuti’s legacy remains, the potency of music as a tool for societal change and speaking truth to power has diminished in today’s mainstream Afrobeat.
Felabration stands as a powerful testament to Fela Kuti’s enduring legacy of activism, reminding a new generation of the unheeded calls for change and the haunting persistence of Nigeria’s socio-political challenges.