Funmilayo Ransome Kuti was a teacher, political campaigner, Women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat. She served with distinction as one of the most prominent leaders of her generation.
Ransome-Kuti’s political activism led to her being described as the doyen of female rights in Nigeria, as well as to her being regarded as “The Mother of Africa.” Early on, she was a very powerful force advocating for the Nigerian woman’s right to vote. She was described in 1947, by the West African Pilot, as the “Lioness of Lisabi” for her leadership of the women of the Egba clan that she belonged to on a campaign against their arbitrary taxation. That struggle led the administration of the Egba kingdom, which was under the authority of Great Britain, to the brink of collapse and to the abdication of the Egba high king Oba Ademola II in 1949.
Kuti was the mother of the activist and Afro-beat musician Fela Kuti, Beko Ransome-Kuti, a doctor, and Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a doctor and health minister of Nigeria. She was the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car and to ride a bike.
In old age her activism was over-shadowed by that of her three sons, who provided effective opposition to various Nigerian military juntas. In 1978 Funmilayo was thrown from a second floor window when her son Fela’s compound, a commune known as the Kalakuta Republic, was stormed by one thousand armed military personnel. She lapsed into a coma in February of that year, and died on the 13th of April, 1978, as a result of her injuries.
This quote was taken from her writings about the Nigeria Women’s Union which she founded.
Love mothers who breed revolution in their wombs.