The New Afrika Shrine recently played host to the French President Emmanuel Macron, and during his visit, he was treated to undiluted African hospitality.
While speaking to journalists during the week about France number one citizen’s visit, Yeni Kuti described how Fela would have felt if he was alive during the French president’s visit.
“Fela would have been very happy because while he was alive, he was happy that the government of France recognised him, his struggles and music. French people were the first Europeans to connect to Afrobeat; that is why there is a sustained relationship between the Kuti family and France.
“The president had been to the shrine when he was a very young man and he even made a comment that he never knew he would come back to the shrine as president. He really had fun when he came and enjoyed Femi’s performance. However, he didn’t want to disrupt the flow of the shrine; he just wanted to enjoy his visit. But as a president, his arrival had to be guarded with strict protocols,” she said.
The French president was flanked by dignitaries and Nigerian celebrities alike when he visited The New Afrika Shrine. Yeni said that she saw a lot of new faces at the shrine for the first time.
“I saw a lot of people there who had never been to the shrine before; many people were there for the first time in their life. I was even shocked,” she told Saturday Beat.
Meanwhile, Nollywood actor cum politician, Desmond Elliot, has revealed why Macron visited the Shrine.
Elliot, who is one of the people excited by the recent visit of the French President, told Saturday Beats, that the French President wanted to know about Africa and where Afrobeat originated from.
He stated, “The French President wanted to know things about Africa and everyone around the globe knew the late Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, the originator of Afrobeat. For him to know Africa first hand, Macron knew he needed to come to the Shrine and there was no better place to host him than the place he could see Africa at its best.
“The entertainment industry is proud and this has raised the bar for the industry. It is so huge for a sitting president of a European country to visit the Shrine and he enjoyed everything about Africa. I am a strong supporter of African culture and I love everything African. I want to encourage other states that whenever they have an important dignitary, they should take them to see their culture.”
Also, the actor said, though Nollywood did a skit to welcome Macron, the visit was beyond the movie industry.
“Nollywood did a skit but the importance of the visit goes beyond the movie industry. It was a plus for the entertainment and tourism industries. You know one of the ways we can export our culture is through entertainment,” Elliot stated.