6. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti
Chief Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was born 25 October 1900 otherwise known as Funmilayo Anikulapo-Kuti, was a teacher, political campaigner, women’s rights activist and traditional aristocrat in Nigeria. She served with prominence as one of the most pre-eminent leaders of her generation. She was also the first woman in the country to drive a car. Her feminism and democratic socialism lead to the conception of The Abeokuta women’s union (AWU) and later Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF), organisations and movements that aided Kuti to promote women’s rights to education, employment and to political participation. When king Alake Ademola of Egbaland wanted to impose taxes on women, Kuti and the AWU clan went to demur using the slogan ‘no taxation without representation’. They were not equal members of society and were strongly opposed to paying taxes until the injustices were rectified.
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. In 1978 Ransome-Kuti was thrown from a third-floor window of her son Fela’s compound, a commune was known as the Kalakuta Republic when it was stormed by one thousand armed military personnel. She lapsed into a coma in February of that year, and died on 13 April 1978, as a result of her injuries.