by Jewel Stephen
In support of global efforts to halt mother to child transmission of HIV in Africa, soft drink giant, The Coca-Cola Company, has joined forces with anti-HIV campaign group, RED Foundation, leveraging its unique entertainment platform, Coke Studio, to battle the scourge by raising awareness of the need to provide anti-retroviral drugs for pregnant women and nursing mothers.
Brand Manager, Colas, Coca-Cola Nigeria, Olufemi Ashipa disclosed that legendary Haitian singer, songwriter and music producer, Wyclef Jean, an ambassador for Red Foundation, has recorded an African version of a HIV awareness song with Nigeria’s Chidinma, which would be used to increase HIV/AIDS awareness on the continent.
“Music transcends all barriers – age, language, distance, so it is a vital tool for delivering such an important message across a continent as diverse as Africa.” Ashipa said
He further highlighted that the anti-HIV hit-track would feature prominently on the final episode of Coke Studio Africa Season 2, during which a tag-line for downloading the song would be made available.
“Wyclef’s anti-HIV song, which features Chidinma and five other Coke Studio Season 2 artistes, will be played during the final episode of the series. We expect that both Wyclef and Chidinma would be available as we approach the season finale, so Nigerians can phone in during radio programmes to speak with them and also enter a fun lyrics contest to win free airtime” he added.
The partnership with RED Foundation further expands Coca-Cola’s interventions in the fight against HIV in Nigeria. Among other programmes, the company is a major funding partner of Friends Africa’s anti-HIV initiative which brings together football, movie and music celebrities to promote HIV awareness and mobilize community support against discrimination and stigmatization of persons living with HIV through a novelty football match tagged Superstars Play for Life.
The match, a culmination of a week-long HIV HIV counselling and testing, is organized annually at the Campos Square on Lagos Island to commemorate the World AIDS Day.
Coke Studio, which berthed in Africa in 2013, has recorded a huge success in other parts of the world including the Middle East and Asia. The unique platform features a fresh fusion of artistes and music genres from all parts of the continent, creating a fresh, distinctly African sound with a contemporary appeal.