Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, the late foremost women’s rights activist and political campaigner, is honoured 41 years after her death today.
The mother of legendary Afro singer Fela, would have been 119 today and to celebrate her posthumous birthday, Google has honoured her with a trademark doodle.
Born on this day in 1900 in Abeokuta, the capital city of Ogun state, Ransome-Kuti grew up witnessing Britain consolidating control over Nigeria, and became one of the first girls to enrol in Abeokuta Grammar School, before travelling to Cheshire in England to continue her education.
By the time she returned home, she dropped her birth names Francis Abigail Olufunmilayo Thomas and preferred to speak Yoruba.
On 20 January 1925, she married the Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome-Kuti. He also defended the commoners and was one of the founders of both the Nigeria Union of Teachers and of the Nigerian Union of Students.
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti began her active participation in feminism when she created the Abeokuta Ladies Club (ALC), which later became the Women’s Union of Abeokuta (AWU). She created this group to promote gender equality, and to raise awareness against the injustice that women were receiving.
Imprisoned in 1947 for protesting against unfair treatment towards women, Ransome-Kuti and her followers also led the charge to abdicate a corrupt local leader.
She took part in the pre-independence conferences that laid the groundwork for Nigeria’s First Republic and was one of the delegates who negotiated Nigeria’s independence with the British government. She was also a high ranking member of the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons.
Ransome-Kuti received the national honour of membership in the Order of the Niger in 1965. The University of Ibadan bestowed upon her the honorary doctorate of laws in 1968.
In 1978 Ransome-Kuti was thrown from a third-floor window in her son Fela’s compound, she lapsed into a coma in February of that year and died on 13 April 1978 as a result of her injuries.
Her children – Dolupo, Beko, Olikoye, and Fela who also became leaders in education, healthcare, and music, also continued their mother’s legacy of activism and advocacy.
The Doodle by the technology giant is a special, temporary alteration of the logo on Google’s homepages intended to commemorate holidays, events, achievements and notable historical figures.