Biography of musical genius launched

Hector Kunene and Rose Francis. PHOTO: FLAXMAN QOOPANE

Authors, journalists, literary critics, musicians and poets gathered at the Civic Theatre in Bloemfontein for the launch of the book, Fela: This bitch of a life – The authorized biography of Africa’s musical genius, on Saturday 10 September 2016.
The book, written by Carlos Moore, pays tribute to the great musician and superstar, Fela Kuti, of Nigeria. Moore was born and raised in Cuba. He holds a Ph.D. in Human Sciences and in Ethnology. Fela Kuti was also his best friend.
Fela: This bitch of a life – The authorized biography of Africa’s musical genius, has been published by African Perspectives Publishing in Johannesburg, Gauteng.
Rose Francis, CEO and founder of African Perspectives Publishing, said: “I am the publisher of the book by Carlos Moore. I have not met him, but spoke to him telephonically and communicated with him through emails. I also communicated with his literary agent, based in New York, USA, and the publisher, based in Chicago. It took me a year to acquire the publishing rights of the book for South Africa, Tanzania and Ghana, which is where I distribute books published by my company. I was able to publish and launch it at the end of June 2016.”
Francis said the book was written in a unique way. “It is written in the first person, which makes reading it feel like dropping in on a conversation. That is what makes it quite unique. It is accessible, very easy to read, not a difficult read at all. It is about the life of Fela Kuti, which is wonderful, interesting and inspiring. It is about the life of Fela’s grandparents, from slavery right up to the present in a contemporary Nigeria. His mother was an incredibly interesting woman. She was a political activist who started the Nigerian Women’s Union. She befriended the first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah. There is a strong sense of Pan-Africanism in this book.”
From the angle of culture, she said: “Fela was abused by the Nigerian military and police. Next year it will be 20 years since Fela died in 1997. If you read a book like this, you keep wondering how a man like Fela managed to survive. If he was still alive, how The Shrine of Kalakuta in Lagos, Nigeria, would actually have represented new musicians, how he would have groomed them? What could we have seen from the Afro-Beat? Of course, the Afro-Beat originated from the Highlife music of Ghana, which is quite interesting.”
The publisher of Fela: This bitch of a life – The authorized biography of Africa’s musical genius further said: “I have lived in Ghana for a year. I still have a home there and I am going back in December 2016. It is wonderful to read a book you can identify with as a Pan-Africanist. However, when you read about Fela’s 27 wives, a lot of people would think it is degrading. I would not agree with that wholeheartedly as you have to look at this in perspective, for example, when did it happen? We are talking about the Nigeria of 1960. What was happening around 1967? Why were these women attracted to The Shrine? Why were they attracted to Fela’s music? Why did they want to be with Fela? You have to put all these things in equation before you come to a conclusion. It is a fascinating book, and I am very proud to be the publisher of this great book.”
Talking to Hector Kunene and Nthabiseng Jah Rose Jafta, co-authors of an anthology of poetry, My muse in the healing seasons, Rose Francis said: “Hector Kunene, Nthabiseng Jah Rose Jafta and myself have been friends on Facebook for many years. They are poets and actors who have a publishing company and who host events for writers. For me, being black conscious and a Pan Africanist, you need to go beyond those words, actually live it and ensure people around you are involved in your business in some way or another. You support black before you support anything or anybody else. That is what being black conscious means. You can’t just be talking about Stephen Biko. You must be able to translate it into your life.” – Flaxman Qoopane