by Isi Esene
Fela’s Kalakuta Museum located at 8, Gbemisola Street, Allen Avenue, Ikeja, was recently thrown open to the public. The museum, declared open by the Lagos State government aims to showcase Fela’s life to those who never had the opportunity to have the Fela experience except through his songs. For those who knew him, this was definitely a sweet walk back memory lane.
The museum houses all the Afrobeat legend’s memorabilia, including his clothes, shoes, equipment and other items. The museum consists of his bedroom, sitting rooms, photographs, with over 3,000 of Fela’s clothes on display.
Yeni Kuti, daughter of the world renowned music icon was on hand to speak with YNaija about the Kalakuta Museum and plans in the offing to keep his legacy intact.
YNaija: What was the thinking behind establishing a Fela Museum?
Yeni Kuti: We have always had it in mind to do something like this. For a man of Fela’s stature we knew we had to do something to keep his legacy alive.
YNaija: When visitors come to the museum what should they expect to see?
Yeni Kuti: Fela has a lot of things that people will want to see; his costumes, his personal effects and a lot of other things that are never-before-seen. We are even yet to put everything because there is so much to see.
YNaija: How did you come by financing such a big project, did you get any support?
Yeni Kuti: Yes, it was the challenges of financing that actually delayed the completion of the project but we eventually got the support of the Lagos State government which went a long way in taking the project to what it is today.
YNaija: With the project completed, how do you intend to maintain it going forward?
Yemi Kuti: If you see the way the building is designed, we intend to make the structure pay for itself, we have a restaurant on the top floor, a hotel on the second floor which we expect will attract a lot of people who want to have the Fela experience up-close. And we also have a cafe on the ground floor for guests to lounge and just generally have a nice time.
YNaija: Was there any opposition from the family to the idea of establishing a museum in honour of Fela?
Yeni Kuti: No, none whatsoever, everyone agreed that Fela deserves it and we all worked towards making it happen.
YNaija: How do you intend to attract visitors, local and international to the Fela Museum?
Yeni Kuti: The Fela brand speaks for itself so part of the work has already being done. We expect to do a lot of publicity going forward and the likes of Femi and Seun will always bring attention to the museum whenever they go out of the country on tour so we expect people will come.
For those who are yet to visit the Kalakuta Museum, this is the time to do so. Fela lives on!