Long before President Emmanuel Macron of France, there was Jacques Chiraq—and the whole of France all loved Femi Kuti and Afrobeat.
Kuti, son of afrobeat creator Fela, revealed the undying link between France and his music as he welcomed Macron to the iconic Afrika Shrine on Tuesday.
He was shocked Macron chose his place to visit in Nigeria as part of activities to mark the launch of the 2020 Season of African Cultures in France.
"Even before President Macron, President Jacques Chiraq loved my father. The French have been so supportive of my father, of me and the shrine,” Kuti said.
“They used to come to the shrine in those days. At the beginning of my career, they made it a priority; everything was happening for me in France. France was the first country to accept my talent. I’m still in France, I’m quite popular there, and I’m like their own. My love for the French and their love for me is public knowledge.”
He said Macron’s decision to visit the shrine caught him completely unawares but was delightful.
“It’s a big political, cultural statement and I think it practically closes the case that the New Afrikan Shrine is the place to be. We’re very authentic, original; we’ve kept the integrity of the African heritage, my father’s legacy. I think it’s probably the biggest cultural heritage across the vast continent of Africa now, where we give free music, talking about political issues for free,” he said.
“If we had funds, you could imagine what would have come out of the Shrine? So for President Macron to decide to come to the shrine, I’m sure he must have heard a lot about my father, his dreams or the shrine. I’ll believe he’s enthusiastic, he feels the vibration that comes out of the Shrine. I hope it’s not a one-off thing where he comes and goes. I don’t even believe that. I hope we all feel this political statement and hope things would probably begin to change positively for the better.”