Unnecessary Begging (1976)

by Fela Kuti

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Fela says ‘Unnecessary begging’ in area (Ghetto) rules is not done—it is not necessary. In the ghetto, if you give your word, people believe you for such words until you do otherwise. African ghetto thoughts and deeds are the traditional way of life of the people. They are based on age-long belief that: ‘words are like eggs, when they drop, they cannot be taken back—it is not necessary. However today, sings Fela, some of us in the spirit of trust believe in our governments. We go into agreement with them to provide us (the people) good houses, good roads, keep the economy buoyant. What do the people get? No government. Corruption at the highest level, etc.! With all this, there are still some academics who preach patience, ‘Intellectuals’ and ‘leaders of thought’ who try to justify the mismanagement of African lives by those in government as ‘problems of young democracies’. Fela says this is Unnecessary Begging. He calls on those in power, to beware of the day when the people will revolt against this situation. It will be a day to render accounts, there will be no room for any Unnecessary Begging.

No Buredi (No Bread): In ‘No Bread’, Fela is talking to average man on the street. To Africans. Africans throughout Diaspora. With all the sarcasm he can Muster, Fela calls the average man who has been for so long exploited to look closely at himself. ‘Look you! You are standing on the ground and your legs are shaking. Your legs are responsible because they are weak and tired from long sufferings,…you sit down like you don reach gbi! Eyes dey role, like thief him eyes…hunger dey show him power! You no get power to fight—No buredi(No Bread)’. The average man accepts all the shortfalls of the system without protesting against it. Africa, the home of the black man, is rich with all the natural and mineral resources. But it is only in Africa that man still carry the shit of the world on his head. Fela stresses the fact that everything overseas came from Africa. In conclusion, he says: the average man should stand firm now and say : Enough To! No Bread (No Money)…I don tire hen!—No Buredi! (meaning we are tired of your grants and aid packages, we are tired of No Bread—no money).

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released September 14, 2010

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Fela Kuti Lagos, Nigeria

Over a decade after his death, vindication has come to Fela Kuti, Africa’s musical genius. AfroBeat, his gift to the world, is now an international staple on his own uncompromising terms, social content intact.

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