Fela house burning:February 19, 1977, the flames had gone off and peace, seemingly, had returned, 14A, Agege Motor Road KALAKUTA REPUBLIC, was now charred debris plots of land. KALAKUTA President, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, suddenly became a refugee in his home land. The Creek Hospital, A.K.A Military Hospital, on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, became his first refugee camp.
Upon his discharge and subsequent release from detention, KALAKUTA became a rovingREPUBLIC. Wherever he laid his head with his household became the temporary KALAKUTA. From Parisona Hotel to Crossroads Motels, KALAKUTA REPUBLIC was re-enacted and once again the music began to play.
But the General Obasanjo led Federal Military Government was not done yet. They issued warning to all hoteliers to desist from accomodating Fela. The Military Government followed it up by making sure all Concerts that starred Fela were thenceforth forcefully cancelled, including those inside the Higher Institutions of Learning.
With nowhere to stay and no means of making a livelihood, Fela and the KALAKUTANS relocated to Accra, Ghana, where he started regular concerts and only came to Lagos now and again, to do free shows inside the main bowl of the Tafawa Balewa Square.
This too was short lived as again, Fela confronted the Ghanaian Military Government and was subsequently expelled from Ghana. This time literally nowhere to go.
JK Brimah, Fela's childhood friend and publicist offered his 3-bedroom apartment where he lived with his British wife and Jamba, their dog, to Fela to squat. Of course squatting meant moving in with the 27 Queens and other KALAKUTANS.
Mr. Brimah's apartment was located inside a twin-block of 8 flats with other tenants occupying the remaining 7 flats. The upsurge of KALAKUTANS into the premises overwhelmed the other tenants in the premises and they sought accommodation elsewhere. As they moved out one family after the other, Fela's KALAKUTANS occupied the flats thus made vaccant. Eventually all the tenants vacated the premises for Fela and the KALAKUTANS. And this became the Atinuke Olabanji, Ikeja KALAKUTA REPUBLIC. Ironically JK Brimah's British wife had to relocate to England, couldn't take the heat herself.
The landlord of the premises wanted to evacuate them due pressure from the Federal Military Government, but Fela would not have any of that. He offered the landlord the total rent for the premises but he refused. Fela also wisely, refused to pack out, saying "here is your rent". And reestablished KALAKUTA REPUBLIC as never before. THIS BECAME THE GOLDEN YEARS OF FELA, WHERE MOST OF THE UNPRECEDENTED HISTORIC EVENT TOOK PLACE.
Directly opposite this KALAKUTA REPUBLIC was a vast plot of unoccupied land. The usual KALAKUTA hangers on took it over and built various kiosks and shanty accommodation on it, turn it to a commune called "area".
This KALAKUTA REPUBLIC terminated the day Fela was jailed. Before KALAKUTANS could get back home, the landlord had taken possession of his property. And in the true meaning of "when the cat is away, the rat is at play", he chased out KALAKUTANS.
Fela came out of jail to build his own Gbemisola Street KALAKUTA REPUBLIC, where he lived till death and which is now THE KALAKUTA MUSEUM. But that is a story for another day.
Today however, in KALAKUTA CHRONICLES on iGroove Radio, between 1-3pm, Nigerian time, we will be looking at the GOLDEN YEARS OF KALAKUTA.