A number of songs published by the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti is seen on this painting at the Terrace bar of the Kalakuta Museum in Lagos
A number of songs published by the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti is seen on this painting at the Terrace bar of the Kalakuta Museum in Lagos

By Pelu Awofeso

Nigerians have spoken: “Water No Get Enemy”, the hit song released by Fela Kuti and the Afrika 70 band has been voted as the best of the late Afrobeat legend’s entire body of work, numbering about 70 albums in a career that spanned some 30 years.

“Water” was part of the Album “Expensive Shit”, which was released in 1975.

This result is the outcome of a poll conducted by waka-about—the art, culture and travel publication based in Lagos, southwest Nigeria—on nearly 400 respondents during Felabration, the annual weeklong series of concerts hosted in Lagos in memory of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Respondents were mostly male and in the 18 and 46 age bracket, who attended the Felabration events at The New Afrika Shrine, NECA House (Fela Debates) and Freedom Park.

According to the poll, conducted among Nigerian and expatriate fans of the late philosopher-musician, “Water” was picked by 60 respondents as their favourite Fela song of all time. “Zombie” (1977) came second with 46 votes, and 1972’s “Lady” placed third with 19 votes.

“It makes sense,” one male respondent says of his preference for the top song. “Water really doesn’t have enemies.”

“Fela preached the reality that water cuts across all boundaries,” says another respondent. “The song is deep and laden with meaning.”

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