On 15 January, FESTAC opens. Fela condemns the event as a propaganda exercise and pulls out. Instead, he stages his own festival at the Shrine. The government discourages FESTAC performers and visitors from going to the club, but many ignore them, including headliner Stevie Wonder, who gives his first Nigerian performance there.
On 16 February, filming of the Fela docudrama The Black President, which began in Ghana the previous year, is completed. The soundtrack is stored at Kalakuta Republic where it is destroyed in the army’s infamous attack two days later….
On 18 February, in an unprecedently brutal assault, 1,000 soldiers batter their way into Kalakuta and raze it to the ground. Among other outrages, they beat and rape dozens of residents, beat and arrest Fela, and throw his 77-year old mother out of a second floor window. The government also closes the Shrine. The album Sorrow Tears And Blood is the first release on Fela’s newly formed label, Kalakuta Records. The title track was written in response to the South African government’s murderous reaction to the Soweto uprising of 1976 but the sleeve carries a dedication to the victims of the attack on Kalakuta. In the autumn, unable to perform in Nigeria because the Shrine has been forcibly closed and other club owners are being intimidated by the police and army, Fela and Afrika 70 tour Ghana.
Fela releases six more magnificent albums with Afrika 70 and produces and guests on others by Tony Allen and Tunde Williams.
Tony Allen and Afrika 70 (with Fela): Progress