One wonders what Fela would have made of Emmanuel Macron’s visit to his legendary Shrine nightclub in Lagos this week.
The French leader will attend the club on July 3 for an evening of music and fashion hosted by the state government as part of his official visit to Nigeria.
When Fela founded the Shrine in 1971 it was for years subject to raids by the security forces because of the threat the Afro beat star was deemed to pose to the government of the day with his protest songs and counter-culture lifestyle.
The club, known officially as Afrika Shrine, is located in Ikeja and replaced one in another part of Lagos that was burnt down by the military in 1977. The new Shrine became the permanent home of Fela’s Africa 70 band, later Egypt 80, and a base of operations for the man who would declare himself the Black President.
In all likelihood Macron has already visited the Shrine as he trained as a senior civil servant at the French Embassy in Lagos in 2004, seven years after Fela died.
This time around he will be winding down at the club following talks in Abuja with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari on security and terrorism after attending the Africa Union summit in Mauritania. Aside from a concert and fashion show, Macron will be meeting with stars of Nigeria’s booming Nollywood film industry.