Monday, February 22, 2010

Funmilayo Ransome Kuti (25 October 1900 – 13 April 1978). A Wonderful Activist And A Great Lagosian.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (1900-1978) was a Nigerian feminist who fought for suffrage and equal rights for her countrywomen long before the second wave of the women's movement in the United States. She also joined the struggle for Nigerian independence as an activist in the anti-colonial movement. Described by many as the mother of women's rights in Nigeria, she was regarded in her time as "The Mother of Africa."

An educationist and an activist, she founded a secondary school in Abeokuta to educate and train Nigerian men and women as future leaders.

She led a successful movement that helped abolish separate tax rates for women. In 1953, she founded the Federation of Nigerian Women Societies which formed an alliance with the Women's International Democratic Federation.

Ransome-Kuti's political activism led to her being described as the doyen of female rights in Nigeria and was regarded as “The Mother of Africa.” Early on she was a very powerful force advocating for women's right to vote. She was described in 1947, by the West African Pilot as the “Lioness of Lisabi” for her leadership of Egba women on a campaign against arbitrary taxation of women. That struggle led to the abdication of the Egba King Oba Ademola II in 1949.

She later ran for a Federal House seat on the ticket of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), a political party founded by Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who later became the first president of post-colonial Nigeria. Though she faced opposition in the party and later left politics, she continued her activism.

She died in 1978 as a result of deadly injuries suffered from a brutal military attack and torture ordered by Olusegun Obasanjo, the dictator and Head of State.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti is the mother of music legend Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

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