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A Perfect Look At The African Highlife Music

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With smile and bliss, there has been a lot of memories created by the African patriarchs and geniuses who strived hard so to establish the face of the African culture.

It has been pretty much named a buoyancy for the result is outstanding so far. Many find passion in African cultures so far which had united the beliefs of the Nation so far.

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African Highlife music has been the rhythm most citizens all over the world portrayed African music symbolism. This is because it is the root of African music; the pinnacle of every music rhythm in Nigeria, Namely; Gospel Rhythm, Afrobeat Rhythm, Blues Rhythm, Reggae rhythm and Hip hop rhythms. They all originated from African Highlife music.

Great ancient stars, despite the economic challenges in Africa, could be able to create some great rhythms with poor musical instruments. This has originated the African Highlife rhythm so far. Time clicked and we are proud to have soured the quality of African Highlife rhythm so far as it enchants Nationwide.

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HighLife Music is a type of West African popular music and dance that originated in Ghana in the late 19th century, later spread to western Nigeria, and flourished in both countries in the 1950s. It was highly rated from the qualities of the Ghana instrument which they portrayed through some satisfying musical band group. You just need to thrill to these efforts.


It all began in Ghana at the early 19th century when Highlife Music passion rose among the ancient Ghanaian who took it very deep amidst hard work and produced great sounds with poor musical instrument produced naturally by their selves.

It captivated much passion as it rose to fame which even thrust their urge to establish it as a musical denomination. With iconic stage performances, they become known across many African countries most especially in Nigeria. It attracted many interests in Western Nigeria as enormous inspiration arose, this time, some citizens were eager to participate in the Highlife music. This rose a few artistes from the western region as they strived for qualities.

In the 1930s, Highlife Music became recognised in Nigeria; pretty much engulfed with qualities after some iconic drumming rhythm which were popularly labelled as Juju Music. Highlife Music star-like Tunde King poured qualities to the rhythm as it generated even more artistes who soured the label. This further spread in the eastward of Nigeria as enormous inspiration arose from the fatherland. It engulfed the whole of Nigeria and even spread all over other African countries as the East and western part of Nigeria participated mostly and dominated the African Highlife Music. It further spread rhythmically after tremendous musical instruments were invented. The rhythms changed and it involved Guitar which also contributed to its qualities. In the 2000s, Stage performances became famous as it attracted much passion which even announced African Highlife Music globally. This attracted many foreigners as they fell in love with the rhythms. It became more of Rock and roll music which even infused the qualities of the rhythm. Highlife Music artistes from African were able to tour their stage performances with bold qualities and passion.

So much fun was shared among Africans which gave rise to Afrobeat. Young youths were inspired as they mixed up the culture of Highlife Music with hip hop and established Afrobeat. Afrobeat also spread and gave rise to Hip Hop and Gospel.

Watch Video below;


It all went serious in Nigeria, this produced a lot of highlife music artistes as they soured the music firmly in Nigeria.

From different tribe in Nigeria, we have experienced some iconic highlife music qualities from Nigerian highlife music artistes so far. Ranging from the ancient and the new school, they all gave iconic qualities in highlife music which established their names as the Nigerian heroes.

Below are the Nigerian highlife artistes both the past and present.


Fela Kuti

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Nigerian iconic Highlife music star who is poorly known as Fela Anikulapo Kuti was born on 15 October 1938 and died on August 1997. He is the son of the famous Nigerian Women’s right activists Fela Ransome Kuti.

He is best known for his qualities as a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, composer, political activists, and pan Africanist. From his qualities, the world was able to enjoy good sounds and rhythms which earned him some great names like the pioneer of the Afrobeat genre, a blend of traditional Yoruba and Afro Cuban Music with funk and Jazz.

He was famously known for his outstanding and brave approach in challenging the political system in Nigeria which earned him international recognition known as the “Sociopolitical Voice” citizens from across the world aspired to attend his live shows because he was the voice of the Nigerian Citizens. Fela Kuti gained fame alongside his drummer Tony Allen after several iconic live performances across the whole world in 1970.

Fela was extremely against the Nigerian government and criticised the corruption of Nigerian government officials and their systems as a whole. He was bittered upon the massive mistreatment of the Nigerian citizens. He pointed out Colonialism as the root of the socio-economic and political problems that plagued the African people.

In 1970, the Nigerian government were seen as the most corrupt across the whole of Africa which wasn’t favourable to Fela as he forth against them massively with his musical lyrics. The government was responsible for election rigging and coups that further worsened poverty, economic inequality unemployment and political instability, which further promoted corruption and thuggery. Fela remained restless fighting against all these with his voice as he further approached Europe; many knew vividly what was happening in Nigeria through him. He stunned popular newspapers as he kept announcing the thuggery in Nigeria. It went viral from top Newspapers until it was unfortunately shut down due to tremendous threatening pressures Newspaper officials received from the government.  This didn’t stop Fela Kuti from his fight, as he was arrested over 200 times and spent moments in jail. In 1984, he spent 20 months in jail which is his longest stay in jail. Soldiers would invade his home and beat him alongside his family and destroy his home and musical instruments.

From his recoveries, he rose again and blasted the Nigerian northeastern Governor in 1984. Mohammadu Buhari was the man in power then. He labelled him as an animal in human form in his song “Beast of no nation” where his popular lyrics “No be outside Buhari dey eeh, no be krase man be dat, animal in krase man skin” originated.

He also fourth against the European culture in Africa and pushed the need to marry multiple women. He did marry multiple women in 1978 before he died.

The world will never forget the iconic memories of Fela Kuti. He is yet done for his two sons has taken over from where he dropped.

Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe

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One of the southern Nigerian highlife king known as Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe sometimes described simply as Osadebe was born in the southern part of Nigeria, Atani in march 1936 and gave up the ghost on 11th May 2007.

He was known famous as the number one Igbo highlife music artiste and emerged as the king of highlife music with his qualities. He gained fame with his single “Osondi owendi” which was a song he dedicated to his critics. His song genre includes; Calypso, Samba, Bolero, rumba, Jazz, and Waltz.

Osedebe’s music passion rose during his secondary school era at the southern part of Nigeria, Onitsha; just a popular city in his state of origin. He pushed his music career and performed in many night clubs at his resident. He further gained his first record deal where he became a member of the Empire Rhythm Orchestra; one of the popular highlife music band led by E. C. Arinze as of then. He gained a lot of music qualities and released his debut album in 1958. It even went serious as he wrote over 500 songs and released half of it before he joined his ancestors.

Time passed, he rose independently and became a leader of his own band before the civil war emerged and destroyed many Nigerian citizens. However, he never gave up and strived hard. He released “Kedu America” as his last album. Few months he passed away, his son died too. He remains the king of Igbo Highlife Music.

Sunny Ade

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Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye MFR, who is best referred to as Sunny Ade is also one of the past top African Highlife music artistes who gave his best amidst qualities. He is a Juju singer, Multi-Instrumentalist and songwriter who became the first African Pop Musician to gain international success and became one of the most influential musicians of all time.

Sunny Ade early life wasn’t a struggle for he was born in a royal family in Osogbo; a resident in Yoruba land where he grew and gained a genuine passion for music. It wasn’t astonishing for his father was a church organist. His inspiration flew uncontrollably and he left college in other to pursue his talent.

Everything seemed focused as he gained his first contract with Victor Olaiyas Federal Rhythm Dandies. There were enormous qualities in the team which even infused his qualities. In 1967, his qualities thrust him for his own label and he founded his label called Green spot in 1967. Fans got attracted globally which earned him multiple awards. He became a global artiste as he toured his musical stage performance all over the world.

Watch video below;

Dan Maraya

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Dan Maraya who is poorly known as Adamu Wayya is also an iconic Nigerian Highlife music artiste who splashed a lot of qualities in the game. His early life wasn’t glaring for his parents died brutally when he was still an infant. His iconic performances will live forever.

He was born in 1946 in Bukuru, Near Jos in Plateau State where he was picked by his father’s Boss after his parents passed away. He grew some genuine passion for music at his very teenage as he strived for qualities. A lot of qualities were gained and he began his legacy.

He made a famous musical instrument himself, which is known by the name Kuntigi. Kuntigi was the pinnacle of his fame because of the qualities seen in it.

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The kuntigi is a small, single-stringed lute. The body is usually a large, oval-shaped sardine can covered with goatskin. Dan Maraya and other kuntigi players are solo performers who accompany themselves with a rapid ostinato on the kuntigi. During instrumental interludes, they repeat a fixed pattern for the song they are playing, but while singing, they will often change the notes of the pattern to parallel the melody they are singing.

His famous song was “Wak’ar Karen mota” a song that gained him global recognition as of then. Things got worst during the civil war but he never gave up as he composed war songs for the federal government.

Watch Video below;

Sir Victor Uwaifo 

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Sir Victor was born on 1st March 1941 in Benin City, he was one of the greatest Highlife music artistes because he gained educational qualification and could be able to translate his message in the English language.

He is a Nigerian musician, writer, sculptor, and musical instrument inventor. He gave more of Afrobeat sounds ranging from his multi-instrumentalist qualities. This gained him fame massively and he was known for his qualities globally.

At his early life, he was eager to acquire knowledge and Education which fetched him a bachelor and master degrees from the Yaba College of Education. At the age of twelve, he was already perfect in playing guitar which helped him worked for great Highlife Artiste like Osadebe before he moved independently.

Striving independently for his legacy, he gained more qualities and soured to his best. He released his famous hit song Joromi which earned him recognition globally. The qualities in the song won him a super highly rated award in Nigeria known as Golden Record in Nigeria, West Africa in 1996.

He kept the qualities flowing until Nigeria swerved to Afrobeat which faded his fame.

Watch Video below;

Fatai Rolling Dollar 

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Prince olayiwola fatai olagunju was also one of the Nigerian Highlife king who portrayed a lot of qualities and some iconic stage performances. Prince was born on 22 July 1927 and died on 12 June 2013.

His qualities earned him a BBC name which is popularly known as national celebrated performer. He gained his music passion in 1953 and gave all his effort in the game. This engulfed his whole self with qualities and he was seen as the best. He released hit songs which even infused his legacy.

He was seen as an idol and inspiration for many as he mentored Ebenezer obey and late Orlando Owoh. During his death in 2013, he was praised massively by the former president of Nigeria Goodluck Jonathan. He will forever be remembered for his qualities.

Watch Fatai performing live below;

Bright Chimezie

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Bright Chimezie is one of the greatest Eastern Highlife kings who gave it all and drove it to a higher level. His stage performances were iconic as he danced along.

He was born on 1st October 1960, he gained some Genuine passion for music at his very teenage age and migrated to Lagos state where he established himself with qualities. His genres became famously known as Zigima sound after he released some iconic hit songs.

Bright earned himself a name “The Duke of African music” After he gave some professional leg work which is still hard for some dancers to portray. His music style is a mix of traditional Nigerian music and Igbo highlife fused with chanted vocals. He focused more on the social issues in Nigeria and funnily spread his message. He will forever remain the Eastern hero.

Watch his live performance below;

Oliver De Coque

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The Eastern citizens of Nigeria will never forget the effort Coque gave so to sour the African culture globally. He will ever remain the king.

Chief Oliver De Coque who is poorly known as Oliver Sunday Akanite was a Nigerian top Guitarist who took Nigerian highlife music to a higher level reminding the world the talent in Africa most especially, Nigeria. He was recognised as one of the African most prolific recording artists who gave it all amidst qualities. At age 11, he was opportune to learn Guitar with the mentorship of Piccolo; a console guitarist living in Nigeria. With much practices and experience, he became a professional and was known for his qualities. Having served an apprenticeship with juju stars like sunny Agaga and Jacob oluwale at his teenage, he gained much confidence and went solo.

His debut album was “Messiah Messiah” in 1977. He could be able to gain international recognition amidst his qualities in his songs like “People’s Club of Nigeria”,“nempi social club”, “Biri Ka Mbiri,” “Ana Enwe,” “Nnukwu Mmanwu,” and “Identity,” as he performed live in London in 1973. He lived a happy life being a father of twelve children from four wives. He will forever remain the king.

Watch his Los Angles live performance below;

Ebenezer Obey

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Ebenezer Obey who is popularly referred to as Chief Commander was born on 3rd April 1942 as Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obeyfabiyi, MFR in idogo Lagos Nigeria.

As a teenager, his music passion grew very tall and he joined Fatai Rolling Band group where he infused his qualities and did some iconic great job with him for years before he went solo. He formed his band which is known famously as “The International Brothers” in 1964. There was a lot of qualities which even established his music firm and he became known globally. He further added drum kits, guitars and talking drum to his music qualities. He will forever be remembered for his effort in establishing the African sound.

Watch him perform live below;

I. K Dairo

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I. k Dairo life story describes how much far his passion for African Highlife music grew during his Era. Despite his life challenges, he still moved on to become one of the greatest Highlife music artistes Nigeria ever made.

The Dutch man who is poorly known as Isaiah Kahinde Dairo is a Nigerian Highlife king who was born in 1930 and gave up the ghost in 1996. He was born in the town of Offa which was located in present days in Kwara state; his family was originally from IJebu Jesa before migrating to Offa. As a kid, he achieved his secondary school education in Christian Missionary School in Offa but this was not fully achieved because his parent had some financial difficulty which even thrust his drop out. He couldn’t afford to give up and migrated to Ijebu-Jesa in search for some jobs where he ended up as a Barber. This was done for years until he gained tremendous qualities with his father’s drum which he built at his early teen. There was much passion and he joined a band led by Taiwo Igese but within few years, the band broke up and he moved on. He found a job which fed him for years but was unfortunate. His boss fired him when he discovered the Dutchman went out for some music tour without his approval. He was fired which nudge his move to Ibadan where he joined another music Band named Daniel Ojoge. He infused his qualities and had that urge to go solo.

His music career went serious when he founded a ten-piece of band called The Morning orchestra in 1957. There was no doubt of his qualities which earned him a spot; he was invited to perform during the Nigerian independence celebration in 1960. His performance was iconic and pleased great men present at the fiesta. He gained great Audience which enabled him to tour his music globally. With much qualities gained, he could be able to change his band name from The morning Star Orchestra to Blue Spot which even invited more audience. He further won a televised competition which involved various talents in African Highlife music. His career remained at the top spot for years until new faces like Ebenezer and co invaded the music firm. His career was shaky but he still toured globally. He is so far an inspiration.

Watch video below;

Dr Sir Warrior

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He is also known for his qualities which he portrayed during his Era. The Nigerian Highlife king drove the music genre to the next level which has made him one of the eastern king. He remains one of the eastern legends, so far the Whole Nigerian still enjoy his music.

Dr Sir Warrior known poorly as Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna, Alias Dr Sir Warrior, is a leader of Oriental Brother International Band after so many years of qualities. His music passion grew passionately when he joined The Oriental Brothers international Band and established his qualities in 1970. So many years of qualities were experienced as he went solo and formed his Band group which he still named Oriental Brothers International Band which consist of his five close friends and Brothers. They drove it to a higher rank which even boosted their hierarchy and they could be able to tour their band group globally. The band later splintered, leading to Prince Ichita & the Great Oriental Brothers International Band, Oriental Brothers International, and then the original Dr. Sir Warrior & His Oriental Brothers International, simply called The Oriental Original. Not with any doubt, Warrior boosted the firm even more grimly and earned his spot as one of the best.

As time tipped, They all departed in groups which thrust and originated Dr Sir Warrior independently. However, when Warrior gave up the ghost, his other halves were be able to keep the Rhythm alive.

Watch video below;

Sir Shina Peters


Sir Shina peters was one of the African highlife king who never gave a limited quality from the start of his genuine music passion. He will always remain an inspiration for the new school Highlife artistes who are boosting the firm already.

Sir Peter who was born by the name oluwashina Akanbi Peters was introduced to the world by parents in Ogun state where he grew and achieved his secondary school education qualification. When his music passion grew enormous and so tall during his teenage, he joined polishing and his twelve fantastic brothers where he portrayed his qualities as the instrumentalist. His focus was mainly on the piano where he established most of his qualities. He served him for years and left the record label for one of the most famous band group in Nigeria as of then known famously as Obey Ebenezer Band; one of the top Highlife music band group owned by Obey Ebenezer who is one of the Nigerian top Highlife kings. He acquired most of his singing qualities in the group after so many years and left it for another band group known as General Prince Adekunle’s Band, this time, played a part as a guitarist. He was gifted a golden opportunity as he performed as the lead singer when his boss, Adekunle fell sick at the Palm Beach hotel in Lagos state. This inspired him and he flew for a new level. He created a band group with the famous Nigerian juju music beast Segun Adewale. After some iconic years, they spilt and went solo which drift his solo. He founded his band group named Sir Shina Peters & his international star in the 1980s and became a star. He went on and won multiple awards which even proved his worth. His first album earned him the artiste and the album of the year award in 1989.

Watch Video below;


The Highlife kings got fatigued amidst their old age which staked the African Highlife music shaky and unstable; few were able to sore the fame with haste and qualities because they all grew old to an extent that some joined their ancestors. Citizens could be able to enjoy their past qualities from the assistance of media and audio platforms including radio channels. From constant rehearsal and old tales, youths were inspired as they strived for the new school. From the story of the late Chief Osita Osadebe’s son who couldn’t make it to derive his father’s legacy, tremendous new artistes arose from various tribes in Nigeria. Ranging from those who took possession from where their father dropped to the root independent ones, Nigerian highlife music rose to life again. People were able to enjoy God music from the the root of Fela Kuti and from other top Highlife musician who have passed away. Look out below and thrill to the new stars in the Highlife music of Nigeria.

Umu Obiligbo

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From their name significant, you could understand that they were inspired by their grandfather, Late Chief Ezigbo Obiligbo, who was known popularly for his highlife music qualities. His qualities were huge to an extent that one of the Nigerian government official Yakubu Gowon became a fan.

Opkuzor and Akunwafor Obiligbo are a Nigerian 21st-century new school highlife music artistes who are known for their qualities already despite their fast fame. Many people wonder and assume them as a twin because of their joint efforts in bringing qualities. They are just brothers, not twin, you could verify yourself. The Duo rose to fame after they dropped their second album when they signed a record deal with Indie Recording God’s hand music which offered them some profound opportunity to show their qualities to the world. People thrilled to their songs which even infused their qualities. In the year 2019, they released their third album which gave them firm wholly most especially, in the eastern side of Nigeria. They were the best highlife music artistes in the eastern part of Nigeria in 2019. They found that favourable and gained recognition from the Nigerian celebrities who featured them amidst their qualities. They featured the Nigerian Afrobeat king, Flavour Na’abania who even exposed some of their hidden qualities. They became known in the whole of Nigeria and became one of the Nigerian most talked celebrity. They recently featured Davido on the song “Oga Thomas” their impact shall ever remain unforgettable as they announce the lunching of their new album 2020.

Watch video below;

Dr. Prince Chijioke Mbanefo 

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Despite being so fortunate to work with late Chief Osita Osadebe crew, he is still known as one of the biggest Nigerian highlife king who is engulfed with much qualities.

The highlife king was born to the royal family of Umuoniha, of Abilibaose Village in Atani Ogbaru local government. He is happily married to Francisca Mbanefo who is a gospel lead singer in one of the famous church in Nigeria known as Mountain of Fire Ministry. He is presently a father of seven children which consist of  4 sons and 3 daughters. Prince acquired his primary school education in Atani and achieved his secondary school education qualification in Nnewi. He also holds a honorary doctorate degree from the Institution Of Charted Economics Kaduna. In 1999, Chijioke was inspired to thrive his music passion and sold all his properties including his business so to raise fund for music. He went on and released his first album which gave him fame and he was known as a professional in what he does. He has performed in stages and concerts worldwide including in countries like Japan, Malaysia, Dubai UAE, South Africa, Benin Republic, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana. This was because of the qualities he portrayed. Chijioke was inspired by the late Highlife music master known famously as chief Osita Osadebe who gave all his best during his era. In an interview with prince he revealed some secretes about his career which is so far the pinnacle of his success so far.

“After my studies in Nnewi, I went to Lagos to learn a trade. I did business for a while but in my innermost man, I knew music was my calling and passion. In 1999, one day I woke up and told myself that I must face my destiny which is my musical career. I had to sell all my properties and goods in my shop and invested the money in music”. He continues.

“In the studio I met some men that worked with Late Chief Osita Osadebe, I did the recording of my first album with them in 1999”

“You want to know the two things that really inspired me? Love and Boredom,” Chijioke declares.

“I was looking at the music industry in Nigeria and I was absolutely bored by the
highlife genre. Everyone is doing the same thing. It’s all about dance-able beats and microphone. That’s why Osadebe came out and blew the world up because he
brought back the entertainment and the inspiration factor. He gave me something to be inspired by other than a person standing on stage singing a song with a bunch of sexy dancers. What Osadebe has done for the High-Life community is what
I’m hoping to continuing doing for the HighLife world and music in general” Dr. Prince Chijioke prince declares.

“I like listening to a lot of old school. Osadebe and musicians like Ali Chukwuma, Captain Mudibe, Celestine Okwu, Sunny Ade, and Ebenezer Obey brought life to highlife music”

“Osadebe didn’t just make songs. He made inspirational songs and that’s
what I’m always striving to do” he narrated.

His early fame wasn’t glaring and he went to his mentor for blessing who blessed him and died in 2007. However, this blessing wasn’t favourable until prince was opportune to perform live with the Afrobeat masters as of then known famously as the Danfo Drivers. His performance was iconic and he gained many contracts from big men.  Life became even easier as he emerged as the king of New school highlife currently; no one has overthrown him.

“I’m not afraid anymore. When you’re
first starting out you try so hard to get in the business and get noticed and when you finally do get in, you don’t want to step on anybody’s toes. You’re afraid you might get kicked out and locked out.”

“I really want to drive home the fact that I’m a true artist. I’m done playing in the junior league and graduated to the big time, 100 per cent an expression of myself, with no apologies made and no more playing it safe” he vowed.

He is so far the best when we refer to stage performances and qualities.

Watch video below;

Seun Kuti


Seun kuti is the youngest son of the late fela kuti. He remains an inspiration for many because his music passion grew so early when he was just 5. That was so early which even established him at 9; he was a already performing alongside his father’s Egypt music group.

Oluseun Anikulapo Kuti famously known as Seun Kuti was born in the year 1983, when his father, Fela Kuti gave up the ghost he took over his band and emerged as the leader. He had some iconic performances just like his father which earned him some recognition and fame. In 2008, he became even much known globally which earned him so many awards. He never relented and gave all his best. Many artiste dreamn’t of featuring him including the Nigerian hip hop king Jidenna.

This has so far proved the qualities in him which he inherited from his father. When Kuti was 9 he was able to stand so bold and performed alongside his father who introduced him to the crowd. Everyone  believed he would take over his father one day and he did. He also took a portion of his father’s bitterness over bad governance in the country. Kuti participated actively in the Occupy Nigeria protests against the fuel subsidy removal policy of President Goodluck Jonathan in his native Nigeria, in January 2012. Seun Kuti is an atheist.

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“I believe it’s time for an African peoples powered highway. A highway that will connect the Diaspora and Motherland. A global highway for African people all over the world to rediscover themselves. To remember that the only thing that unites black people, globally, the only thing we all have in common is that we are from Africa”.

He believed massively in the African culture which has so far earned him massive love from African countries.

Watch video below;

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