Kakadu: The Mecca of Lagos Nightlife

Shortly after Nigeria’s independence in 1960, there was a bar located at the Alagomeji junction, Lagos, where fun-loving people would meet in the evenings to eat, drink, gossip and generally discuss about Nigeria and other related issues. It was a place were great minds like Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe, J.P Clark, among others, shared their optimism for a greater Nigeria. Kakadu is not a fictitious bar but one that truly existed at Alagomeji in the 1960s.

Located at 238, Herbert Macaulay Street, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos, Kakadu Nite Club was where Fela used to perform in the 1960s. After returning from the United Kingdom, Fela began a cabaret show at Kakadu Nite Club later known as Afro Spot around 1966, before he moved to the Empire Hotel and then the Surulere Night Club, which later became the first Shrine.

A Lebanese owner of the club called Ali had invited Fela to perform there every week. It was the era of highlife music and Fela’s orchestra band, which was then known as Koola Lobitos, used to attract a large number of students from University of Lagos, Yaba College of Technology and other institutions in Lagos to a fun filled session at Kakadu Nite Club every Saturday.

Some of the other great highlife bands of the day like Osita Osadebe, Roy Chicago, Arinze, and Cardinal Rex Lawson used to play at the Kakadu.

However, since the post-colonial period, Kakadu has gone through tremendous transformation. Many tenants had come and gone. After Ali moved his nightclub out of the place, Picollo Brothers Nigeria Ltd, a spare parts selling company took over. The next tenant was Alpha Gate Industries that used to sell footwears. The building currently houses an outlet of Sweet Sensation Confectioneries.

Kakadu, in the heyday of post-independence was the melting pot for social life and intellectual discourse by the crème de la crème of the Nigerian socio-political class and a true symbol of an age before crisis brought about by the advent of the Civil War and other happenings in the late 60s and early 70s. Its memory was so compelling that there was apparently a show titled “Kakadu: The Musical”.

“Kakadu: The Musical” named after the famous 60’s Lagos nightclub, captures the excitement & possibilities birthed in era of wonderful music. Kakadu: The Musical was based on several important events that happened in Nigeria between 1965 and 1974, the historic years immediately following independence from British colonial rule, leading to the Biafran War and the aftermath of the war. It was written and produced by Uche Nwokedi (SAN).

Kakadu: The Musical shares the story of this famous Lagos nightclub in the 60s as a backdrop for an era, which brought about wonderful music and the distinctive social life that followed the birthing of a young nation.

The Mecca of Lagos nightlife during the post-independence period was probably the Kakadu in Alagomeji, Yaba.

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