African culture took centre stage at an ‘Evening with Coca-Cola’, a grand event that reawakened the consciousness of hundreds of Nigerian youths and rocked their world in a sensational way. The event was the official launch of ‘A Billion Reasons to Believe in Africa’ Coca-Cola’s latest continental campaign, which took place on Thursday evening, September 6 at Habour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos. Thrilling the crowd was the amazing trio of Iyanya, MI and Omawunmi, who were at their best as they dished out hit after hit to the joy of the teenagers, young adults, celebrities in the arts, comedy, fashion and music scene.
The event was anchored by witty comedienne, Helen Paul and ‘Goge Africa’ host, Isaac Moses who projected a regal pose through the evening. The DJ provided a foretaste of the evening, which was followed with performances by young poets SageBlack, Elizabeth Ole and Nonnie. The crowd was thrilled to a frenzy when a dance drama depicted the evolution of Nigerian music from the seventies till date.
Kukere Master, Iyanya, was the first to perform and he got the crowd on its feet with his hot single, ‘Kukere,’ before doing the very popular ‘Your Waist.’ Iyanya said, “I believe in the originality of Africans. God loves us so much as can be seen from our fantastic climate, free from natural disasters. Though we have our own shortcomings, we are blessed. Our hospitality is second to none. I want youths at this event today to aspire to be the best just like Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is one of the biggest brands in the world and I’m telling youths to be like Coca-Cola, and prove that they can succeed.”
By the time MI got on stage, the entire room was already electrified. He got the entire arena to its feet with his rendition of ‘Action Film’ and brought the house down with ‘Africa Number One.’ MI, speaking to journalists, said he is an ideal candidate that can inspire young people to believe in the continent. “I landed in Lagos five years ago with nothing more than a bus ticket and the belief that I was going to be a success story,” he said. “Today, I am celebrated and respected everywhere I go. I have been to many great places in the world and I am a success story; I typify a reason to believe in Africa.”
The sensational Omawunmi got everyone dancing to her live performance of ‘If you ask me’ and ‘Bottom-Belle.’
‘A Billion Reasons to Believe’ is an extension of Coca-Cola’s global Open Happiness campaign, which sees happiness in everyday occurrences in our society. The campaign seeks to celebrate and highlight all things good about Africa, with the hope of raising a new generation of Africans that are excited about its future. The ‘Evening with Coca-Cola’ was an expression of African poetry, fashion, music and dance. Every guest had the chance to sign the ‘Believe Wall’, stating their reason to believe in Africa.
Olufemi Ashipa, Brand Manager, Colas, Coca-Cola Manager, said the company’s conviction in the unparalleled potentials inherent in Africa’s youths. “The youths of Africa have the manpower, the intellect and resources to change the world,” he said. “Nigeria is already taking the world by storm with the great feats being accomplished in the areas of technology, fashion, business, music, literature etc. That is what tonight’s event is all about; celebrating the past with a forward view and great hope for the future.”
Kenneth Archibong, a 200-level student of Accounting at the Lagos State University, said he was inspired by the Afrocentric performances of the artists and the poets. He said the fact that Coca-Cola gave him the chance to meet and interact with his musical idols was gratifying. “I had fun tonight and the guys that performed were all on point,” he said. “I enjoyed MI’s performance the most and the poets were also very good. The fashion show was also nice. I think Coca-Cola pulled it off and, after seeing the whole show, I’m going home with hope for a better Nigeria and a better Africa.”
Another youth, Derin Oshineye, a student of the University of Lagos, said she was excited for Nigeria and believed the future would be great. “Nigeria is blessed with good people, who love to enjoy life and have fun,” the Theatre Arts student said. “They are hardworking and respectful. I believe all the economic challenges are all designed to make us better. Overall, tonight, Coca-Cola made me proud to be African.”
Consumers can participate in the campaign by sharing some of their reasons to believe and personal stories of optimism, passion and belief in Africa on the Coca-Cola Nigeria Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/cokenaija). Users of Twitter can also send a tweet to @CocaCola_NG.
The evening was rounded off perfectly by a fashion show by Touch of Magic, an award-winning fashion house that works with African fabrics.