French President Emmanuel Macron will on Monday visit a nightclub founded by Nigerian music legend Fela Kuti, becoming the first “real president” to enter a venue synonymous with marijuana smoke, sexy backup dancers and protest music.
The New Afrika Shrine located in the teeming Lagos district of Ikeja replaced Fela Kuti’s original club that burnt down in 1977, but for millions of fans it still represents the original Shrine built by the musical maverick.
A statement issued by the the head, TRACE media, Olivier Laouchez, said the evening will feature concerts, fashion shows by leading African designers and a meeting with stars from Nigeria’s booming Nollywood film industry.
Laouchez who also the entertainment group and organiser of the event said, “the Shrine is a must-see place,” adding that Lagos is “Africa’s cultural capital.”
“Lagos is also giving Johannesburg — the other African cultural hotspot — a run for its money in the art world with its annual Art X event.”
He noted that Macron will visit Abuja for talks with his counterpart President Muhammadu Buhari on security and terrorism, before going to Lagos.
A veteran employee of the Alliance Francaise cultural institute in Lagos, Ibrahim Tcha-Tchere, said Macron’s visit was fitting given that “France has always had great cultural cooperation with Nigeria.
“It was the French who organised Fela’s first European tour in 1981,” he said.
“Then his sons Femi and Seun launched their international careers in France.” The shrine is a big hall, painted brown and yellow, with patterns of green, red and black, suggesting African symbolism.
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