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Friday, 13 October, 2000, 18:58 GMT 19:58 UK
Revival of Fela Kuti's 'shrine'
Femi Kuti, son of the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Femi "is a cleaner-cut version of his father".
By BBC's Barnaby Phillips Lagos

Nigeria witnesses on Friday the rebirth of a one time Africa's most famous night club - The Shrine.

The club was home to the king of Afrobeat, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, who died in 1997 from Aids-related reasons.


For more than two decades Fela performed at the shrine with the same incredible energy with which he enjoyed drugs and women

The shrine - then a dingy club on the outskirts of Lagos that became a legend - closed soon after Fela's death.

But now a new shrine has been built in the same neighbourhood as the old one.

Dozens of people have been working round the clock to get the place ready for Friday's big opening.

Femi Kuti

The man behind it all is none other than Fela's son, Femi Kuti - a successful musician in his own right.

King of Afrobeat, the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti
Fela's spirit lives on, three years after death
Femi hopes the new shrine will not only be a night club but also a centre for all the performing arts.

By so doing, Femi feels he will be setting an example to other rich Nigerians.

"If I can do that I've set a standard. Every rich man can do that, bring all the money back, invest it in our schools, our schools don't even have windows, the teachers are not even paid.,." he said.

Clouds of marijuana

Femi may never become the icon his father was, but he does perform in the same Afro-beat style, taking inspiration from the bustling, hot and noisy streets of Lagos.

And on those streets, nearly everybody supports the re-opening of the famous shrine.

One thing is for sure. The new Shrine will be a much less bohemian place than its predecessor, where the air was always thick with clouds of marijuana.

Femi Kuti is a cleaner-cut version of his father - and he says drug consumption will not be encouraged in his club.

"To be honest with you I'll curtail it - I'll be up on stage trying to educate people, and saying don't do here what you wouldn't do in your home, and don't give this place a bad name".

Heady lifestyle

For more than two decades Fela performed at the shrine with the same incredible energy with which he enjoyed drugs and women.

Fela was always larger than life.

For millions of Nigerians he was a hero - for his fearless opposition to military rule and his heady lifestyle.

Nigerians will tell you that shrine or no shrine, Fela's spirit lives on- he is remembered with an affection that many politicians and generals can only dream of.

But the opening of the new shrine will provide a venue for new Nigerian talent and, who knows, may become the place for new legends to be born.

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See also:

27 Aug 99 | Africa
African Media Watch
19 Jul 99 | Africa
Jazz to the Lagos beat
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