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Visiting Lagos for the First Time? Here’s Why You Must Visit the Kalakuta Museum

The Kalakuta Museum can be classified as a specialty museum in that it focuses on one subject area, which is the life and times of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

Until his death in 1997, Fela Kuti was a Nigerian musician and activist whose life and death was riddled with a lot of controversies. Also known as “Abami Eda” Fela used the lyrical content of his music to criticize Military rulers, particularly Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo.

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To this day, a number of young musicians and activists ascribe their courage to Fela’s ideas and they have gone on to sample a number of his works.

History of the Kalakuta Museum

The current location of the Kalakuta museum served as Fela’s abode while he was alive. Almost everything Fela touched and used in his last days has been preserved in this space. From his toothbrush and soap to his pants and shoes, everything is on display at this museum to help you understand and relive life through Fela’s eyes.

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Fela’s Pants

In 1974, Fela was thrown into prison for “corruption of minors and possession of cannabis”. He spent 11 months in a cell called ‘Kalakuta’ and that was where the name “Kalakuta Republic” was born. Upon his release, the music icon renamed his residence in Ikeja Kalakuta Republic.

Beautiful artwork on display at the Kalakuta Museum

Location

The Museum isn’t far from the Fela shrine. The address is 7 Gbemisola street, Allen Avenue Ikeja, Lagos.

If you’re not driving or taking a cab. You can take a “Keke Maruwa” from either Opebi or Allen junction and tell the driver you’re going to the Kalakuta Museum. They’ll drop you off at the appropriate junction.

If you’re driving or using a car hire service, just plug the address into your Google Maps app. It’s quite straightforward.

Entrance Fees

We visited on a Sunday and we paid 1,000 Naira each to visit. While some advised to bargain, I’m not really down for driving “unreasonable” bargains at tourist attractions. This is because I believe these places need to generate income in order to maintain a standard, and if my money would help to do that, I’ll gladly pay my 2 cents.

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Everything Na Art

What’s on Display

I remember the day of Fela’s death like it was yesterday. I was only 4 years old at the time but I knew something terrible had happened. I remember hearing that Fela was sick before that time and that he refused to go to a hospital.

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Fela’s Typewriter (I bet children of these days don’t even know what this is).

The Kalakuta museum helped to put all the disjointed pieces together. We saw the original artwork for all of Fela’s albums and our tour guide even shared the inspiration behind some of them.

Fun but weird fact: Fela had so many wives! We were told that he married some of these women because they had basically been cast out by society. He married as many as 27 in a day.

 

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Fela and his dancers

We got to see photos from Fela’s early years up until his last days. These included his family, mom, siblings, and children.

Verdict

This is probably the most well-maintained museum I have ever been to in Nigeria. Maybe because it’s a private museum.

If you’re visiting Lagos for the first time or the umpteenth time, please add this place to your itinerary. Just ensure you visit on any day other than a Sunday.

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Jadesola, Yemisi and Gbemisola

I explored this place with my friend Gbemisola of Allaboutgbxmi and Yemisi, my friend with whom I visited the Nike Art Gallery for the first time.

You can watch our experience on my YouTube channel – Jade’s Unfiltered Life:

 

Check out more photos from the Kalakuta Museum visit:

 

Visiting-Kalakuta-Museum-Ikeja-Jades-Unfiltered-LifeHeadlines from that year

Fela’s letters Visiting-Kalakuta-Museum-Ikeja-Jades-Unfiltered-Life Making headlines Visiting-Kalakuta-Museum-Ikeja-Jades-Unfiltered-Life Sun Kissed

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8 Comments
  • Wumi ‘Tuase
    Posted at 11:17h, 17 August Reply

    I’m actually ashamed to say I’ve never been there. Definitely going to before the year ends. Fela is a legend and I think these new artistes are just reaching because until they start to fight for what’s right, they’ll never attain his status. This is a detailed review and I loved reading. Well done.
    http://www.wumituase.com

    • Jadesola Odujole
      Posted at 10:48h, 22 August Reply

      Thanks, Wumi. I love how artists like Burna Boy and Wizkid don’t deny Fela’s influence on their music. Do tag me when you visit the Kalakuta republic.

  • Ogunyemi Oluwabukola
    Posted at 11:32h, 17 August Reply

    I’ve lived in Lagos all my life but too bad I haven’t visited any of those places lol.
    I’m sure you had an amazing time.

    • Jadesola Odujole
      Posted at 10:44h, 22 August Reply

      Yes! I loved visiting the Kalakuta Museum. Thanks for reading.

  • Vanessa Ohaha
    Posted at 12:10h, 17 August Reply

    I agree with you about not bargaining unnecessarily on fees for sites like these. I haven’t still been here, I should.

    • Jadesola Odujole
      Posted at 10:43h, 22 August Reply

      You totally should. Since my visit, the way I think of Fela Anikulapo Kuti has totally changed.

  • Sarah
    Posted at 12:16h, 17 August Reply

    I have been procrastinating on my visit, you just gave me a reason to make it happen.
    Thanks for sharing

    • Jadesola Odujole
      Posted at 10:42h, 22 August Reply

      Yaaaay! Thank you for reading. You can tag me on social when you eventually visit.

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