Tuesday, 7 May 2019

The Kuti Heritage Museum - Exclusive Photos and details like never before

Dr James in front of the museum garage 

The Kuti museum is connected to the life and time of the family of Likoye Kuti (1820-1863) and Anne Ekidan Efupeyin, the paternal grandparents of Josiah Jesse Ransome-Kuti (June 1, 1855 – September 4, 1930) a Nigerian clergyman and music composer, the father of Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti (April 30, 1891 – April 6, 1955) who was married to Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti, the great woman activist who history has it that she is the first woman to drive a car in Nigeria. 

Dr James in front of the statue of Pa Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti  and wife Mrs Olufunmilayo

Likoye Kuti (1820-1863), an indigene of Igbein, Abeokuta, was among the first set of inhabitants of Abeokuta when it was founded in 1830. He was a follower of the traditional Yoruba religion, he rejected Christianity and European influence in Abeokuta. Unlike his wife, Anne who embraced Christianity, he died in 1863.

Dr James and Mr Fatai his driver outside the Museum 

His son Josiah Ransome-Kuti was baptized in 1859, four years before Likoye died. Josiah got enrolled as a student into the Church Missionary Society Training Institution, Abeokuta, before proceeding to the Church Missionary Society Training Institute, Lagos in 1871, he was later employed as a teacher at St. Peter's School, Ake, Abeokuta, but he left the school in 1879 to teach music at the CMS Girls School, Lagos, where he met his wife Bertha Anny Erinade Olubi, in 1882 and they got married and were blessed with three children; Grace Eniola, Azariah Olusegun and Israel Oludotun. 

staircase to the upper side of the building

In 1891. Pa Josiah was made catechist at the Gbagura Church Parsonage, Abeokuta before he founded Gbagura Church, a local church where he converted people to the Christian faith through his versatility in rendering English gospel hymns into indigenous gospel songs. He became a deacon in 1895, ordained a priest in 1897 and was appointed District Judge from 1902 to 1906. In 1911, he was appointed Pastor of St. Peter's Cathedral Church, Ake after previously serving as superintendent of the Abeokuta Church Mission. In 1922, he was made Canon of the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos and in 1925, he became the first Nigerian to release a record album after he recorded several Yoruba language hymns in gramophone through Zonophone Records. Josiah was popular in his days for converting most English Christian hymns to Yoruba language and writing new ones too. 

furniture used by Pa Israel Oludotun  and Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti 

His descendants kept on waxing and expanding the Ransome-Kuti family name, through Pa Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti (April 30, 1891 – April 6, 1955), who like his father became a clergyman and educationist.

The Museum 

Pa Israel was born on April 30, 1891 in Abeokuta, he attended Lagos Grammar School and Abeokuta Grammar School respectively before proceeding to Fourah Bay College, Freetown where he completed his undergraduate studies. He came back to Nigeria in 1916 to start his career, he worked as a class teacher at Abeokuta Grammar School until 1918, he was later appointed as the Principal of Ijebu Ode Grammar School for thirteen years and went on to found the Association of Headmasters of Ijebu Schools in 1926. 

Photos and family tree of the Ransome-Kuti 

In 1931, he was appointed as the pioneering President of the then newly formed Nigeria Union of Teachers, a position he held until his retirement in 1954. 

Photos of the Ransome-Kuti 

Pa Israel has kept the Ransome Kuti name alive, like in the Rev Kuti Memorial Grammar School, Isabo, Abuokuta, the Kuti Hall, one of the halls of residence at the University of Ibadan, the rev Kuti Memorial Grammar school Yaba and many others are named after him

Photos in the museum 

The twin buildings, the KUTI Heritage Museum in Isabo, Abeokuta, Ogun State was the resident of Pa Israel and his wife Mrs Funmilayo. 

Inside the garage a white Volvo car, used by the Ransome-Kuti 

It was opened to the public on April 26, 2019, with support from the Ogun State Government as Ogun State celebrated the ‘Drums Festival’. 

the passage leading to the staircase is decorated with photos of Pa Israel Oludotun  and Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti 

The building host stories, some archival materials on the life and times of the Kuti family, among them are photographs, old bed used by the members of the family, tea cups and an old white family car and lots of memories of Pa Israel children and grandchildren, including the music legend, FELA Kuti (aka Abemeda), Dr Beko Ransome Kuti and Prof Olikoye Ransome Kuti.

billboard displaying a photo of Pa Israel Oludotun  and Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti and their children

portrait and profile of Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti 

Old furniture of the Ransome-Kuti 

Newspaper clippings of the  Ransome-Kuti 

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