International Thief Thief

  • songfacts ®
  • "International Thief Thief" was written by Fela Kuti (1938-97). The Nigerian composer created a new genre of music, Afrobeat, but he was also active in politics. When he appeared on The Andrew Marr Show on August 7, 2011, Sahr Ngaujau explained the origin of the song to stand-in host Mariella Frostrup.

    Ngaujau, who had up until that time been playing Kuti in the musical Fela! for five years, said that when someone is caught stealing in Africa it is customary to shout "thief, thief!" and chase him out of town. "International Thief Thief" is about theft, but on a somewhat larger scale; the fact that it can be abbreviated to ITT - the name of a well-known multinational company - is probably not coincidental.
  • The full version of the song runs to 25 minutes, and is largely instrumental.
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