The South African State Theatre, an agency of the country’s Department of Arts and Culture, has premiered, on YouTube, a play about Fela Kuti and the 27 women he married on the same day in 1978. Fela and the Kalakuta Queens is a Nigerian play, and this, The Guardian Nigeria reports, marks the first time a foreign theatre has monetized a Nigerian theatre’s play online.
Produced and directed by Bolanle Austen-Peters, Fela and the Kalakuta Queens focuses on the musician’s 27 wives while exploring his rise to prominence through music and popularity through government criticism. It draws attention to the Kalakuta Republic, highlighting the fashion, dance, and identities of the women.
Fela and the Kalakuta Queens also became the first Nigerian production to run in South Africa when it was shown from March-April of this year.
Otosirieze Obi-Young is a writer, editor, journalist, and curator. He is Editor of Folio Nigeria, where he profiles innovators and facilitators in culture: business, art, photography, music, activism, health, food. He has vast experience working in literature. He has sat on the judging panels of The Gerald Kraak Prize and of The Morland Writing Scholarship. He is an editor at 14, Nigeria's first queer art collective, and Curator at The Art Naija Series, a sequence of e-anthologies exploring different aspects of Nigerianness. For three years, Nov. 2016 to Apr. 2020, he led the transformation of the literary blog Brittle Paper into a continental powerhouse, ideating and administering The Brittle Paper Awards, the first by an African publication. His work in queer advocacy has been profiled in Literary Hub. In 2019, he won The Future Awards Africa Prize for Literature. In 2020, he was named among "The 100 Most Influential Young Nigerians." He completed a collection of short stories in 2016 and his novel in 2020. Find him on otosirieze.com or on Twitter & Insta: @otosirieze.