History: The First woman to drive a car In Nigeria Mrs Olufunmilayo Ransome Kuti, More about your history and the great people who helped shape it. This is the story of Fela’s mother…a woman whose story needs to be told over and over again.
Abigail Olufunmilayo Thomas was born on 25 October 1900, in Abeokuta. She attended the Abeokuta Grammar school for secondary education, and later went to England for further studies. She soon returned to Nigeria and became a teacher. On 20 January 1925, she married the Reverend Israel Oludotun Ransome Kuti. He also defended the commoners of his country, and was one of the founders of both the Nigerian Union of Teachers and of the Nigerian Union of Students.
Ransome-Kuti received the national honor of membership in the Order of Nigeria in 1965. The University of Ibadan bestowed upon her the honorary doctorate of laws in 1968. She also held a seat in the Western House of Chiefs of Nigeria as an oloye of the Yoruba people. Aside the fact that she is the first woman to ride a bicycle and then the first woman to drive a car in West Africa, Throughout her career, she was known as an educator and activist. She and Elizabeth Adekogbe provided dynamic leadership for women’s rights in the ’50s. She founded an organization for women in Abeokuta, with a membership tally of over 20 000 individuals spanning both literate and illiterate women. SEE MORE ON PAGE 2