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CELEBRATING FELA 20 YEARS AFTER:  His funny side

Fela 3

APART from being a consummate composer, music arranger, singer and producer, Fela was a funny man. Those who were close to him, and patrons of Afrikan Shrine (his nite club) enjoyed some of his jokes abundantly.

The names of places and police ‘stations were the butt of some of his jokes. He always wondered why they could allow places to be named Amukoko or Maroko.

So, he always said, “Amukoto (pipe smoker), Amu cigar (cigarette smoker), Amu igbo (hemp smoker), in derision. For Maroko (don’t encounter hoe, literally), he extended in to “Marada” (don’t encounter cutlass), Mari shovel (don’t encounter shovel), Mari poun poun (don’t encounter metal basin).”

Police stations had funny sobriquets and they amused him to no end. Olosan (orange seller), Alakara (bean cake seller), Panti (refuse), and Alagbon (coconut seller) was very funny – and he said so.

Moslems also got some jibes from him. He disclosed that in Saudi Arabia all the Arabic prayers and sermons, and even recitation from the Quran were said with so much finesse, unlike Nigerians who said those things with wanton abandon.

Once in his bedroom, he asked his friends whether they were cold after putting off the fan. And two of them responded “No”. Fela insisted that he had to put the fan off because he was cold. “Ah, emi odo eleje tutu”  (I’m a youth with fresh blood).

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