Emmanuel Macron was already familiar with the venue, long before he was elected president
In 1977, Nigerian soldiers burned down the legendary concert hall where Fela Kuti performed his protest music that popularized the Afrobeat genre and earned him millions of loyal followers around the world.
Kuti was despised by Nigeria’s military rulers for his controversial songs that mocked corrupt officials, criticized colonialism and encouraged Nigerians to question their leaders’ lavish spending.
Kuti died in 1997, but on Tuesday the New Afrika Shrine in Lagos – which replaced the original club and is now managed by two of Kutisons, Femi and Seun, also both musicians – welcomed French President Emmanuel Macron. His visit to the Shrine, believed to be a first by a sitting president, stole the spotlight from Macron’s earlier extremism-related meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, and somewhat shifted the focus of his trip to a celebration of African youth and culture.
“It may be a surprise that a French president goes to the Shrine, but it never surprises anyone if I go to the Albert Hall or the Met,” Macron said. “We have to change that.”
This is African energy. The one I discovered here in Lagos when I was 23. The one I am glad to see is still thriving several years later. The one I hope many Europeans will get to know. The one that is far from the African prejudice of misery. pic.twitter.com/HqFxmJn0c1
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) July 4, 2018