Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

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(25th of October 1900- 13th of April 1978)


She was a teacher, political campaigner, women’s right activist and the first woman in Nigeria to drive a car. She was also the wife to Isreal Oludotun Ransome Kuti and the mother of 4 children. Three of her children (Fela Anikulapo, Beko and Olikoye Ransome-Kuti) also turned out to be very prominent figures in Nigeria.


She was born Francis Abigail Olufunmilayo Thomas in Abeokuta to a father (Daniel Thomas) who was the son of a returned slave from Sierra Leone. Her father moved to Abeokuta after he was able to trace his ancestry back there. She completed her secondary school education in Abeokuta Grammar School and went to Wincham Hall School for girls, Cheshire, England from 1919-1922. She dropped the names Francis and Abigail upon her return to Nigeria due to the racism she experienced in England.


She and her husband are founders of the Nigerian Union of Teachers as well as the Nigerian Union of Students and she was openly against colonial education. She founded a women’s organisation of over 20,000 women in Abeokuta. She advocated for the voting rights of Nigerian women and in the late 1940s, she led a campaign in Egba land against the erratic taxation of women. She was part of the people who negotiated Nigeria’s independence with the British government.


Due to her activism, she was branded a communist by the US government and was denied a visa. The British government in 1956 also refused to renew her passport.

She died as a result of injuries sustained after being thrown from a three storey building in Kalakuta republic by Nigerian soldiers.





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