In the dead of the night, it is daybreak in the hallowed entertainment arena crowded by fun seekers. Well lit and glittering, the centre accommodates people from diverse backgrounds and class. It is Afrika Shrine, an outdoor entertainment centre in Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, where the rich and the poor, the educated and the illiterate bask in the rituals of culture and habit.
Founded by the late Afrobeat maestro, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti in the early 70s, Shrine as it is popularly called, is a haven where people of different personalities, creed and beliefs converge to seek relief from the hustle and bustle of their engagements in the city.
Shrine is usually at the peak of its life during Felabration, an annual music festival help in memory of the late Fela. The entertainment arena is also electric on Sundays, when Femi Kuti – the son of the late music icon and his band treat thousands of “worshippers,” comprising people from all walks of life to thrilling Afrofunk lyrics at a ticket fee of N500 each.
According to an article in the Nigerian Newspaper Punch, the pomp in the Shrine infiltrates its surroundings, where a flurry of activities evolves altogether. At nights, the surroundings are alive with groups of youths and lovers basking in drinking and smoking spree. Different kinds of trade boom by the roadsides to satisfy the urge of every night owl. “Drugs are not allowed in the Shrine.” That is the inscription at the entrance of the iconic centre. But as imperative as the text reads, its import is not for “the initiates” in the shrine. After all, of what relevance is the note to the personality of the late multi-instrumentalist who founded the arena? And when Macron warned that “matters of a shrine remain in the shrine,” he succinctly expressed the spectrum of untold experience that unfolds in the entertainment hub.
According to www.feednews.com, the fear of the Afrika Shrine especially late into the night is the fear of being welcomed by pick pockets, social miscreants, riff raffs who have seen the Shrine within or without as their haven to do business despite the security officials on ground. It is a known fact that the intellectual as well as the illiterate looking people and secret cult boys revel at the atmosphere in the Femi and Yeni Kuti-inspired facility which is the only lounge or event centre where undiluted Afro beat music reigns.
At the New Afrika Shrine, the warning by Federal Ministry of Health that smokers are liable to die young is just a saying and not a thing to be taken seriously as majority of the fun seeker are living like smoking would prevent them from die young.