Breaking bounds and acting outside accepted social norms is the occasional recourse of persons within our society who are “burdened” with an abundance of social consciousness and burning zeal for social justice. Oftentimes, their zeal consumes them, especially in societies such as ours where impunity and docility have conspired to make the population eternally sceptical.
More often than not, this zeal is expressed verbally with strong words lashing out at both the oppressor and the oppressed , infrequently it manifests physically with the zealot resorting to occasional outbursts of physical violence.
This, I dare say, may explain Seun Kuti’s recent unwholesome conduct.
Please note that my explanation is not a justification of the act.It is simply explaining the conditions or circumstances that underpin the act or attitude.
People with the magnitude of social consciousness burden that Seun carries have a tendency to lash out once in a while, especially when they are young and physically energetic as Seun is. Seun appeared to have found a frustration release mechanism with the boxing training videos he posts every now and again.
The punching we see in those videos is him figuratively expelling his frustration at a society that just doesn’t get him. The events with the police man represents a lapse of judgement on his part, which is not justifiable but, as I have just set out, is explainable.
I am not saying he should not be appropriately sanctioned according to law, but that discerning minds should be more circumspect in their condemnation of the act.
Maybe, if our intelligencia were more courageous in advocating for a more egalitarian society, the burden of frustration on the likes of Seun would be less, and lashing out like he just did would have been unnecessary.
Once again, this piece is not a justification for Seun’s actions , however. it could be seen as an allocutus of a friend of the Kuti family on behalf of a young man the same age as my first son. Beloved Nigerians. please forgive the young man
*Patrick H. Doyle is a veteran
Broadcaster and Narrative Management Expert