The Kuti Heritage Museum is a newly renovated building which now serves as a tourist attraction in Abeokuta. The Museum, now a top sight in the city of Abeokuta, used to be the home to the parents of the Legendary Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Mr. Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti and Mrs. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. The Museum now has an aesthetic landscape, a proper management and creative setups aimed at promoting tourism, culture & the African heritage, and to preserve the monuments of the Kuti’s inspiring culture. Kuti Heritage Museum is definitely your pick on your next trip or vacation.
For years, the twin building that served as home to Fela’s parent, Mr and Mrs Ransome-Kuti in Isabo, Abeokuta, was in a despicable state. The structures were dilapidating, due to erosion and it was being abused by squatters and residents who turned the house into a refuse dump.
The renovation however started with Architect Theo Lawson who is known to be a promoter of art legacies, and African culture, plus he had a directional passion to preserve the Kuti’s legacy like he had done before; reconstructing the Afro beat legend, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s former residence at Gbemisola Street, Ikeja, Lagos into the now popular Kalakuta Museum in Lagos. Together with the Kuti family, they started the renovation that turned the building into a beauty, receiving massive support from the Ogun State Government.
The project was completed in 2018 and was unveiled by the former governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun at the 2019 African Drum Festival. The ceremony featured several celebrations and the attendance of high dignitaries including Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka who is the nephew to Oludotun Ransome-Kuti, Fela’s father.
The Museum, however still needing some finishing touches, began operations and now serves as a tourist center in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. It has welcomed visitors from across the country to its archive of the Kuti’s belongings, history and legacies.
The Museum is currently managed by Mr. Akinlabi Shokunbi who also shares a flaring passion for the African heritage and the Kuti legacy. He was the site manager during the reconstruction of the facility. He’s an afrobeat musician, and a firm believer in fighting for the rights of humanity, fitting in as the ideal personality to manage the museum.
At the front of the main building, a statue of the late couple, Mr Oludotun Ransome-Kuti and Mrs. Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti, dressed in full Yoruba attire, stands erect. The entrance then leads into a number of rooms of the one-storey building, each having their own story to tell. A tour around the building exposes you to various artefacts, appliances, and set ups in its unaltered form that were used by the Kuti family.
One area of the building has archives of newspaper pages published in the 1930s serving as a preserved form of the Kuti’s history. All rooms are in their original form, with their characteristic small area and low ceilings. The other building, which has been reconditioned and modernized happen to be where the main offices of the managing officer occupy.
This building, however also has its own elements of history, culture and the African heritage, as it has the inscribed history of the four children from the Kuti family, from the eldest, Dolu, Olikoye, Fela, to the youngest, Dr. Bekolari hanging on the walls of a room. Other rooms have pictures and albums that narrating some of the major life journey and achievements of the Kuti family. The walls of a particular room is filled with comics narrating the activism of Mrs. Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti during the regime of one Alake and the British rule in Egbaland. Find some pictures below:
Somewhere in the compound, which serves as the hot spot of the Kuti Heritage Museum holds a mini-bar and a set up, suitable for holding hangouts, birthdays, meetings, etc. This area provides a soothing environment for relaxation, and on specific weekdays, it features live Afro band performances. It is rapidly becoming one of the best places to hangout or spend one’s weekend in Abeokuta. The Museum as a whole, exposes one to another level of knowledge, experience, culture appreciation and lots more. It is the modern tourist center in Abeokuta, Ogun State and Nigeria at large.