|A video representation summarizing my experience at Kalakuta Museum is at the end of this article
I love to visit restaurants, art galleries, even parks; but little did I know I could also have an equal fun time at a museum too.
The day finally came when I scheduled a visit the popular ‘Kalakuta Museum’ in Lagos. It was a planned visit with a friend and I was having a takeover on a community page (@awelagos) on this very day.
My whole journey started from boarding a bus to Ikeja Along. I used the pedestrian bridge upon highlighting rather than crossing the road illegally which is actually risky because I was somewhat in a haste, that was when I came by this moving train that was so slow & clearly not in good sight.
Patiently waiting for the train to pass by, I was only wondering why the railway system in Lagos was so poor, the train was clearly not in good condition, it looked like an old mess that has managed to survived different eras. The sight of people hopping on the train while it was moving, supposedly because they cannot afford the transport fare and board on the train the right way was very nauseating.
The indistinct chattering & feet clattering of individuals who were also waiting for the train to pass by as they now gestured to cross the rail put a temporary pause to my thoughts as I now joined them in crossing.
I hopped into a keke napep (a three-wheeled vehicle) after the railway going to Allen which was 100 naira, and I told the rider I was going to highlight at Gbemisola street to further take a bike down to the museum. I really do not know how I found myself seated in between two really chubby women (I don’t want to say fat), but they were actually very big.
I felt cheated honestly, cause we all paid the same money and they were seated in far more fraction of space than I was, I knew i could only endure for a few minutes. This day proved really different, as I always stay at the edge of whatever vehicle I board, to conveniently stare at random things on the streets and take records of anything I find interesting.
The ride was about 15 minutes and upon getting down from the napep, signals of freedom ran down my spines as my legs which were previously tense were now let loose from such pressure I had to undergo.
It felt like one million bike men were chanting, whistling and gesturing to take me wherever I wanted to. I scan through rapidly passing by the ones that looked rugged as I now hopped on the bike of my choice. It was an old man riding; he didn’t join in the previous chantings, and I only hopped on his bike because aged people are usually patient individuals. I wouldn’t want to start arguing with a rider on the right speed.
It was a smooth three minutes ride which cost 50 naira, i want to tip the old man for his patience without even having to tell him to be, but the next change with me was 1,000 naira, so I only appreciated him.
I could see the building right from the gate, it was painted white and it was in floors. The security post was inside the building, so I could only signal the security guard through a small louvres accessible outside to help me open the gate.
He enlightens me about the gate fee of 1,000 naira, and a further 1,000 naira for the museum tour. I agree and he lets me in, before paying the ‘acclaimed’ gate fee I asked if I was going to be given a ticket, card, or an evidence of payment maybe. He stammers before muttering nothing relevant to what I asked, and it quickly occurs to me that he may or may not be lying about the gate fee.
I still pay. However, I ask him to follow me to where I was supposed to pay for the museum tour and he obliged.
Passing two floors through a staircase, we finally reach the top floor, away from what I was on to find out which was my reason for telling the security guard to please follow me, I notice a kitten all curled up on a chair. It was beautiful!
I tell the security guard to please hold on while I go get something & I asked the bar attendant who was a lady because we were now at the bar which is what is present at the top most floor if at all there exists a gate fee, and she laughs before answering with a loud no! I quickly reached for the guy to collect my money back as he was now standing awkwardly, he tries to talk me out of the situation & I wasn’t trying to understand because I was taking aback by how someone would be so dubious in a renowned museum.
I collect my money and he still remains standing awkwardly, and the bar attendant erupts in laughter yet again as she walks towards him to question why he had to deceive me. A lady who was also present in the bar, joins in laughing & I didn’t know when I started laughing too. It was such an hilarious scene.
The museum curator apologized, and my friend arrives shortly, clueless of the whole scene that just happened. We went straight into content creating for about 20-30 minutes before we finally decided we were ready for the tour.
The museum curator who previously didn’t introduce himself finally says his name his Steve and briefed us about the do’s & don’ts of the tour before taking us on a journey in history. I remember one of the don’ts being photograph of certain pictures weren’t allowed.
It was poorly illuminated in the ground floor of the museum but as we progressed upwards it got better.
Amazing facts about the Legend Fela who lived between the periods of 1938-1997 was shared including the fast that he married 27 wives in one day. The origin of Kalakuta Museum dates back to actually being a cell where Fela was arrested as a result of the forceful abduction of ladies. He was arrested for this offence, and after his release, it was said that he divorced his 27 wives in a claim for their infidelity during his tenure in prison.
He was said to have only married one wife legally in England amongst his 29 wives in total, who was the mother of Femi, Yeni & Sola kuti. Femi & Yeni are pictured below; however, Sola died three weeks after her father died in 1997.
Fela after his release from the prison released certain controversial records which were directed to the Nigerian government at the time.
After his release of ‘Zombies’, a record that was out loud and in no way subtle, clearing referring to the Nigerian Army, saying they don’t have a mind of their own. The government came for him at his home probably after getting his not-so-subtle message to them, and they only met his mother who was thrown down the staircase, she didn’t recover from the incidence as she died a few weeks after.
Fela’s Mum was well known & prestiged at the time as she was a great feminist and happened to be the first woman to drive a car in the nation. (Funmilayo Ransom kuti). Angered by the incidence, Fela released yet more records still referring to the government, calling out names this time including our current president ‘Buhari’ in his hit single ‘Beast of no nation’.
He was such a controversial human, and the idea of recreating his room was one very thoughtful. It was said that after his death, all the items in his room were recovered and arranged in the museum exactly the way it was in his home.
His shoes spoke class, I could only imagine how badass owning one of those in the 70s would be.
He was said to have also worn his panties never on the stage but only at his home any time and day, even if he was having the president as a guest, how unapologetic!!!!!
It was said that Fela could also play musical instruments in his time which included the ‘Piano’ and the ‘Guitar’.
The whole journey in history started from the ground floor and we were now back to the top floor without even realizing. The tour which seemed like five minutes when in actual sense was about 20 minutes finally came to an end.
I was so famished and I resorted to having fries & chicken for brunch which was 1,000 naira. The fries wasn’t bland and the chicken wasn’t as tasty as I would have preferred. Not minding that, the whole facts spilled by the amazing museum curator kept replaying through my head, what an ICON!
The experience I previously assumed was going to turn out to be a boring one, turned out priceless.
Did you have a glimpse of my museum tour? Did you learn a few things you probably didn’t know about the Legend (Fela)? Leave me a comment reviewing this article as I would be most delighted reading and responding to them. Thanks for stopping by!