Exploring Fela’s shrine.
I’m officially a walkabout. Lately, my default mood has been skewed towards “YOLO”. It’s still a bit weird to hear myself described as a “walkabout” but I guess it’s more truth than lie and I don’t fight it anymore.
I’m not sure when this tilt happened because I used to be this reclusive girl with little experience of the world but you know what? It’s growth. It’s progress. And I truly love the thrill of going to and exploring new places.
I’ve been meaning to visit Fela’s shrine for a while now. I’ll be honest, my desire to check out the Shrine was fueled more by my parents labeling it a place for drug addicts and commenting that me going there would mean that I am one too. I’m defiant like that.
So after Church on Sunday (how ironical right?), I made my way down to The New Afrika/ Fela’s shrine located off Hakeem Balogun Street in Agidingbi, Ikeja with my friend Alex (Yes, Alex of the Ghana Trip and The Food Shack experience)
Fela’s Shrine was everything I expected – The smell of weed, the obviously “doped up people” and the colorful fun but really important posters passing across key messages and a bit of history.
What I wasn’t expecting though, was for it to be a completely civil environment. The people were nice enough, and we weren’t harassed for taking pictures.
It seemed exactly like what I’ve heard it referred to as (although I never believed) “a free for all zone”. I’m mentioning this because I know a lot of people get scared to visit the shrine because they think it is a violent environment. Quite the contrary.
We got one of the guys hanging around to act as our tour guide and paid him N500, though He didn’t exactly ask for money. Unfortunately, we checked out only the ground floor of the shrine and didn’t realize we hadn’t seen the full place till we were already heading out (our uber Guy was waiting).
Apparently, only the security guards have access to the inner rooms, so you’re better off asking one of them to act as your tour guide for a fuller experience. I plan to head back again later in the week to take some outfit pictures.
Femi Kuti was to perform later at night (I hear they have different shows in the evenings) but we couldn’t stay that long. You can buy some Fela Merchandise, food, snacks, palm wine and just chill at the shrine if you don’t mind the “smoke”.
Fela’s shrine is located at 1 NERDC road, off Hakeem Balogun, Agidingbi, Lagos.
We also stopped by at the Kalakuta museum after we left the shrine but unfortunately, it wasn’t open (it was a Sunday) and we couldn’t check it out.
It would probably have been a fuller experience if we got a guide that had access to everywhere and also could share a bit of the history with us, but it was definitely still a nice experience.