Open Access Peer-reviewed Research Article

(Non)violent protest in Africa: Echoes and lessons from Fela Anikulapo Kuti

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Noah Opeyemi Balogun corresponding author


This study examines the intersection of popular music/culture, social movement and protest by analysing the numerous protest music produced and performed by Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Africa’s most iconic resistant artist of the twentieth century. It engages the core questions of right, injustice and inequality that have manifested in Africa/Nigeria’s underdevelopment since the Union Jack was lowered in 1960. It argues that Fela’s music did have obvious impact on Nigerian youth and the working class who attempted to revise or renegotiate their relationship with the Nigerian state. Yet, it posed hitherto unanswered questions of the changing meaning of social movement in relation to artistic production -- an aspect of peace studies that scholars have completely overlooked. It concludes that as people reconfigure social relations from one stage to another in their life, their engagement with the State and the social meaning attributed to social justice, which Fela’s music emphasised, also change. Thus, popular consciousness shaped by resistant music is not immutable to nonviolent social protest. Rather, it continued to change as individuals and groups reconstitute their relationship with the society, and as their social status transformed in accordance with the acquisition of better education, wealth/resources, among other significant elements that shape human’s consciousness.

nonviolence, echoes and lessons, Fela, Africa, Nigeria

Article Details

How to Cite
Balogun, N. O. (2023). (Non)violent protest in Africa: Echoes and lessons from Fela Anikulapo Kuti. International Journal of Arts and Humanities, 4(1), 153-165.


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