Fela Kuti, Ikoyi Blindness

Ikoyi Blindness

Artist: Fela Kuti
Title: Ikoyi Blindness
Genre: Afrobeat African
Format: Vinyl, Album, LP
Year: 1976

Fela’s definition of mental blindness is a person who, with his eyes wide-open, misses his direction and keeps turning round in circles without ever getting to his destination. Ikoyi Blindness refers to the Nigerian elite class who choose wrong professions because it provides them status in society rather than job satisfaction. Not only are they in the wrong professions, they are also blind to the sufferings of their fellow countrymen who live in ghettos like: Mushin, Ajegunle, Somolu, Maroko and even Kalakuta. Pointing to the example of a lawyer; who instead of buying law books, chooses hammer as his trade tool, or a musician who chooses spanner as his trade tool. Fela says there is still some hope for such men, if they could channel their way of thinking towards their environment. ‘…them miss road! Them find road again oh!’. Those social-climbers who see the status quo and stepping into the shoes of former colonial administrators as a sign of moving up in society. They are forgetting that the majority of their folks are still struggling in the ghettos. Such people must realize that they are worse off than a blind person living next to a river. They are going to fall: “shallow” into more ‘Ikoyi mental’ Blindness.

– Mabinuori Kayode Idowu