Finding Fela: A Celebration of Fela Kuti’s life

Finding Fela, Alex Gibney’s documentary, celebrates the life of the visionary Nigerian musician and social activist, Fela Kuti.

It comes as the latest in a posthumous outpouring that is proving relentless. Albums are being re-released, FELA! the musical is in full swing and, perhaps most importantly, Fela’s self- proclaimed Kalakuta Republic in the heart of Lagos has been resurrected as the New Afrika Shrine.

Fela’s home/studio/nightclub was burned down by the Nigerian army in response to his 1977 Zombie album, the title song of which, performed here by the FELA! band, features on Finding Fela as one of three tracks that isn’t a Fela Kuti original.

A big question arises here: Can you respectfully edit a Fela Kuti track for a compilation when the majority weigh in at around 10 minutes? Somewhat tactfully, shorter tracks such as Jeun Ko Ku and Viva Nigeria have been included on the two-disc set.

Tracks that have been edited may indeed be frustrating for fans, but an unobvious selection – the excellent female-led Upside Down, for example – will probably reset the balance by reliving some forgotten Afrobeat favourites.

As an all-encompassing closer, Fela’s son Femi, backed by the FELA! band, play Colonial Mentality live at the New Afrika Shrine. As you’d hope, the energy is infectious.

Finding Fela premieres in Nigeria next month at Felabration (  the 13th annual music and arts festival celebrating the musical icon from October 13 to 19. 

To view a slideshow go to

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Clyde Macfarlane
Music and travel writer @GuardianTravel, @SonglinesMag, @MailandGuardian and @TheQuietus. New poetry book out: Across New Zealand in 140 Hitches Clyde Macfarlane has over 342 followers on Twitter.

Reinstated Ingonyama Trust managers hit with retrenchment notices

The effect of Covid-19 and the land reform department’s freeze of R23-million because the ITB didn’t comply with budget submissions are cited as some of the reasons for the staff cuts

Battle over R6bn workers’ retirement fund

Allegations from both sides tumble out in court papers

Nigeria’s anti-corruption boss arrested for corruption

Ibrahim Magu’s arrest by the secret police was a surprise — but also not surprising

Eskom refers employees suspected of contracts graft for criminal investigations

The struggling power utility has updated Parliament on investigations into contracts where more than R4-billion was lost in overpayments

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday