When it comes to personal politics, I have never held Nigerian celebrities to any standard. They are, after all, humans. And although being a celebrity can also mean being a role model and saying the right things, because this is what a majority of people expect, Nigerian celebrities are altogether a different breed. Which is why I’m not surprised by the latest comments from Afrobeat artiste Seun Kuti. In what looks like an interview that hit social media in the form of a clip, Kuti can be heard saying that the subjugation of women in Africa was a concept imported via colonisation.
” ‘A woman’s place is in the kitchen’ is a European proverb…” – Seun Kuti pic.twitter.com/z7Qd5FbyWV
— Slay-Papa O. (@TweetAtAustin) April 27, 2019
”’A woman’s place is in the kitchen is a European proverb. We didn’t know about subjugating women until the white men came to teach us.” I have watched the clip repeatedly to see if Kuti shows a glimmer of frivolousness. But this is not the case. It’s worth mentioning that what Kuti means by subjugation of women is basically patriarchy, and this oppressive system which creates structural inequality between men and women in every regard is as old as civilization.
In pre-colonial Africa, women in various African societies were subjected to the horrors of genital mutilation, couldn’t own land or property, and married off under the paternalistic, patriarchal concept of bride price. That said, the oppression of women manifests differently in other climes. For example, British women in the 19th century couldn’t vote until protests were made, which was what first-wave feminism was shaped by.
It is egregious and ignorant that Kuti thinks that the oppression of women was imported via colonization. How about homophobia? I reckon Kuti would say Africans have always been homophobic, you know, whatever to uphold bigotry.