RIP Ozzidi African Sodier and Conscience Of A Nation

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Long before the South Africans turned on the immigrants in their fold and started using them as dart boards and objects for batting practice, Sunny Okosun aka Ozziddi first summated the new stance of an angry Africa and its refusal to accept apartheid in his great classic Fire in Soweto.

Galvanized if not marching to the beat of that awesome tune, the Afrikaners and their racist allies had no chance as the rest of the world joined the fight against them and soon Botha's putrid dream would be parlayed by DeKlerk and Mandela and the RSA would be free forever. No one puts it better than Osita Ezeliora who penned "Sunny Okosun needs no introduction as a foremost Nigeria's cultural ambassador. He sang for the individual; he sang for the nation; he sang for the continent; he sang for the black peoples of the world, and he sang for humankind that transcends racial affiliation. Sunny Okosun's music touched the soul, and constantly reminded us of our common humanity. For Okosun, there is no Negroid, Caucasian, or mongolese (sic) race. "What we have", he says, "is the human race". Okosun's functionalist aesthetics was deployed by the Nigerian government to lubricate and penetrate the hearts of Nigerians at a time when it was necessary to persuade our people to pay what was then called "Apartheid tax" as a way of combating the racial inhumanities in Southern Africa. Nigeria eventually spent the whopping sum of sixty-two billion dollars (U$D 62 bn) to secure the freedom of our relatives in Southern Africa and to return Papas Land to its right full sons and daughters.

From Start To End The Pepsodent Smile.......

But no amount is too big to be spent when it comes to the liberty of humankind. Okosun sang against apartheid, against Hitler's Nazism, against war, against man's inhumanity to fellowmen. He sang of love, he sang of motherhood and the love of children and giving peace a chance.Okosun reminded us of divine presence and even as early as the 1970s he had appealed to the almighty to lift him up. Such is the arduous task of selfless cultural ambassadors who have continued to labor so hard to stabilize the larger population of our people in the midst of apparent political 'earthquakes' often deliberately inflicted on them by many of our leaders."

Okosun was a "true mensch" to put it briefly and also played a healing role in Nigeria internally due to the make up of his band, which simply was Nigerian and marrying outside his tribe. With his unique style that borrowed both on pealing horns as in Olurun Mose Iyamu and heavily from the new phenomenon that was sweeping through Africa namely Reggae, he layered soothing lyrics over throbbing base and harmonic keyboards. He would catapult himself unto the stage as a mesmerizing entertainer from Delta State by intermarrying and singing in both pidgin and English thus making his audience much larger and international. Choosing binding subject matter like Reparations didn't hurt his fame either.


.....And Humility Never Left Africa's True Champion for Equality

Okosun was known for his Pepsodent smile, leather moccasins and at one time the unique head dress that often made him look more like an Apache chief than ultimate crooner. As the colon cancer that would kill him continued to ravage his body he never changed his carriage or the way he lived his life continuing to be regal and humble to the very end at a young 61 and that exactly how I will remember him forever.

Re: RIP Ozziddi African Sodier and Conscience Of A Nation
Philipikita posted on 05-27-2008, 23:30:23 PM
Yes, I remember as a child, I was in love with all of Okosun's revolutionary songs. "Fire in Soweto" actually fired me to ask my father questions about Soweto, thus helping me to know about apartheid while in primary 3.

A section of the Nigerian public (including Philip Ikita) were a bit disappointed by Okosun's Artistes for One Nigeria project during the Abacha years...beautiful songs and nice lyrics, but he toured the states with the tapes, visiting with military administrators and making utterances that connoted "support" for the dictatorship of Abacha. He was to also participate in the infamous 2 million man match in Abuja, to sing the praise of the regime and "beg" Abacha to rule Nigeria indefinitely. In my opinion, these raised critical questions on the life and activities of a person that became popular through revolutionary songs.

Not an attempt to speak ill of the dead. Just stating facts. I believe authors need to start striking some balance when writing on the lives of the dead who were public figures, dead people whose works impacted on the society and the public in many ways. I don't think this would imply "speaking ill of the dead". As public figures, future generations also have a right to know in totality, all sides of such great figures, not read about them as "saints" without blemish.
Re: RIP Ozziddi African Sodier and Conscience Of A Nation
Ozion ozumba posted on 05-28-2008, 04:10:18 AM
Adieu quintessential African music meastro
Re: RIP Ozziddi African Sodier and Conscience Of A Nation
SUYA posted on 05-28-2008, 07:25:17 AM
philipikita there is an old Russian saying which goes better silence than speak evil of the dead. Ur points are salient but allow Okosun this one day. Biko.
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