Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, MON 25 October 1900 – 13 April 1978, otherwise known as Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, was a teacher, political campaigner, women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat in Nigeria. Kuti was the mother of the Nigerian activists Fela Anikulapo Kuti, a musician; Beko Ransome-Kuti, a doctor; and Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a doctor and health minister. She was also grandmother to musicians Seun Kuti and Femi Kuti. She is highly regarded in her native Nigeria for notable acts as an African woman.
Achievements: She served with distinction as one of the most prominent leaders of her generation. She was also the first woman in the country to drive a car. Ransome-Kuti’s political activism led to her being described as the doyen of female rights in Nigeria, as well as to her being regarded as “The Mother of Africa.” Early on, she was a very powerful force advocating for the Nigerian woman’s right to vote. She was described in 1947, by the West African Pilot, as the “Lioness of Lisabi” for her leadership of the women of the Egba people on a campaign against their arbitrary taxation. That struggle led to the abdication of the high king Oba Ademola II in 1949.
Legacy: Ransome-Kuti is one of the most prominent figures in Nigerian history and inspired women across Nigeria through her brave acts and most notably her fight for women in the country. Some say that she paved the way for women in Nigeria to have better lives.