Historical FiguresWomen History

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti: The Lioness of Lisabi

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti

Nigeria’s history is adorned with remarkable figures who have left an indelible mark on the nation’s landscape. One such luminary is Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti, a multifaceted personality whose life journey is nothing short of extraordinary. Born on October 25, 1900, and departing on April 13, 1978, she was a teacher, political campaigner, traditional aristocrat, and a fervent advocate for women’s rights.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was born as Francis Abigail Olufunmilayo Thomas to Mr. Daniel Olumeyuwa Thomas and Mrs. Lucretia Phyllis Omoyeni Adesola. From an early age, it was evident that she possessed a remarkable spirit that would lead her to become one of Nigeria’s most prominent leaders.

Funmilayo’s activism was marked by a relentless commitment to women’s rights, including their right to vote. Her bold and unwavering stance earned her the moniker “The Lioness of Lisabi” in 1947. This title was bestowed upon her due to her exceptional leadership in the campaign against arbitrary taxation of the women of the Egba clan. The result was nothing short of extraordinary, as it led to the abdication of the Egba high King, Oba Ademola II, in 1949.

The Kuti legacy of activism extended through generations. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was the mother of the iconic musician, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, whose music remains a powerful voice for social justice. Her children also included Beko Ransome-Kuti, a dedicated medical doctor, and Professor Olikoye Ransome-Kuti, a doctor who served as Nigeria’s former health minister. Her influence extended to her grandchildren as well, with Seun Kuti and Femi Kuti carrying on the family tradition as musicians.

Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti’s life serves as a testament to the power of unwavering determination and the ability to effect profound change. Her tireless efforts as a political campaigner and women’s rights activist have left an indelible mark on Nigerian history. Her family’s continued commitment to activism further underscores the enduring impact of her legacy.


  1. Oyewunmi, O. (1994). Mothers of the Revolution: The War Experiences of Asantewa, Funmilayo Kuti, and Nehanda. Feminist Review, 48(1), 19-35.
  2. Oyewunmi, O. (2003). Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti: The Woman’s Rights Leader as Revolutionary. The International Journal of African Historical Studies, 36(3), 471-499.
Cite this article as: Teslim Omipidan. (July 22, 2015). Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti: The Lioness of Lisabi. OldNaija. Retrieved from https://oldnaija.com/2015/07/22/mrs-olufunmilayo-ransome-kuti/

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