Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti: Bold for Change

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti is often mostly remembered as the first woman (allegedly) to drive a car in Nigeria, or as the mother of Afrobeat maestro Fela Anikulapo-Kuti.

However, what she truly lived for, was seeing women break free. She breathed women’s rights, and she worked tirelessly to uplift women in every way she could. Many have fought relentlessly for the emancipation of women from every form of oppression, but the Lioness of Lisabi is in a class of her own.

On International Women’s Day 2017, we remembered FRK:

1. For teaching women.

Even while she was yet a student at Abeokuta Grammar School, she taught the younger girls. She was a strong believer in the power of education, not as a cure-all, but as a way to be empowered. Her eagerness to share all she knew led her to start a social club where young ladies could learn social graces, etiquette and handicrafts. She had a friend who “read” her hymnbook upside down, and another who kept buying newspapers, looking forward to the day when she would learn how to read. In 1944, FRK started teaching both of them to read. Before long, more illiterate women wanted in, and FRK’s Abeokuta Ladies Club started offering literacy classes. She studied abroad and was part of the city’s elite, but she did not sit and cross her arms. She may not have showered them with money, but she gave them a more powerful gift. She empowered them to educate themselves, by teaching them how to read. What can we learn from Funmilayo’s spirit? How can you lift up and empower one woman today? Can we claim to have women’s rights at heart if we do nothing with what we have?

2. For standing up to oppressors.

She was not called a lioness for nothing. Read more… 

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