Critical Pedagogy of International Legal Education in Africa: An Exploration of Fela Anikulapo-Kuti’s Music

  • Babatunde FagbayiboEmail author
Part of the Arts, Research, Innovation and Society book series (ARIS)


Fela Anikulapo-Kuti was a revolutionary who used his music as a weapon for tackling autocracy and global injustice. He advocated for pan-Africanism in socio-political and economic processes and fought against the marginalisation of the downtrodden. His non-conformist, radical stance resulted in numerous arrests, harassments and torture at the hands of successive military regimes in Nigeria. Fela’s infectious beats and critically engaging lyrics, mainly sang in Pidgin English, continue to inspire multi-layered interests in his works. Beyond the commercial appropriation of his legacy, his intense and methodical delivery provides an important window to exposing students to critical understanding of the global system. While Fela’s musical oeuvre generally speak to social consciousness, three of his songs are relevant to the critical teaching of international law: “Teacher Don’t Teach Me Nonsense”, “International Thief Thief”, and “Beast of No Nations”. These songs reflect some of the issues raised by critical movements, such as the Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), thereby making them an important gateway to understanding the works of this school of thought. These issues include the hypocrisy of the international community regarding democracy, illicit financial flow from Africa, and the unequal structure of the United Nations (UN). This chapter discusses the ideational issues that should guide the introduction of Fela’s music into the process of rethinking the pedagogy of international legal education in African law schools.


Fela Anikulapo Kuti Critical pedagogy Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL) Paulo Freire Afrocentric approach Interdisciplinary Dialogics Teacher don’t teach me nonsense Beast of no nations International Thief Thief 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of South AfricaPretoriaSouth Africa

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