This week, in studios across the continent, Africa's first crowdsourced song was recorded by some of the biggest names for a global initiative to get the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to everyone on the planet.
The SDGs, now popularly known as the Global Goals, will be adopted by 193 world leaders in the United Nations in New York on 25 September. The goals represent an action plan for the next 15 years and aim to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice and tackle climate change for everyone by 2030.
The Global Goals campaign, which launches next week, will release an all-African song, titled "Tell Everybody", that aims to inspire young people to know their rights encompassed in the 17 goals and hold their governments accountable to deliver on their promises.
Award-winning producers Cobhams Asuquo (Nigeria), David KING DAVID Muthami (Kenya) and Ellputo (Mozambique) have collaborated on a track that was recorded by Mafikizolo (South Africa), Becca (Ghana) and Diamond (Tanzania) in Johannesburg's Jazzworx studio. Sauti Sol (Kenya), Toofan (Togo), Yemi Alade and Wizkid (Nigeria) put their verses down on the track in studios in Nairobi, Lome, Lagos and London.
In order to ensure the song captured the voice of Africa's youth, the songwriters decided to crowdsource two verses (one French, one English) for the song via a competition, "Add Your Voice/Add Your Verse", run by Every1Mobile. During the two-week competition, 5,712 people from 24 African countries submitted lyrics via their mobile phone.
Cobhams Asuquo said, "We decided to let the young voices of Africa be heard in this song. Not only did we love the winning verses but all the entries informed the vision, lyrics and sound of the song. The African youth are power houses in their own right and collectively they can make change happen".
Algy Williams of Every1Mobile added: "Mobile is a perfect way for young people to express themselves, and the entries showed that young people are motivated by the potential of the Global Goals and ready to hold their leaders to account".
The winner of the English verse was Farhan Yusuf from Tanzania. He was thrilled to receive a personal call from Diamond on Wednesday evening, live on Millard Ayo's CLOUDS FM evening show, Tanzania's biggest radio station, letting him know his verse was selected as the winning English entry. Farhan wrote this verse:
Africa is the continent of tomorrow,
An Africa free of need, poverty and sorrow,
The whole world is going to take a bow,
Africa, your time is now, now, now!
Becca, who recorded his winning lyrics, said: "There is no better way to deliver the Global Goals message than through music. This song, I believe, is going to be that breakthrough."
The winner of the French verse was Eric-Orion Biao from Benin. The lyrics below inspired Togo's dynamic duo, Toofan to write their piece:
Tous égaux et libres nous grandirons
Sur une terre qui nous respecte
Le monde c'est nous qui le changerons
Cette jeunesse forte et instruite
Barabas and Musta of Toofan explained why they chose the verse, saying; "Les paroles d'Eric nous ont inspirées car elles reflètent tellement la force de notre continent: nous, ses jeunes! Si on se mobilise tous, nous pouvons, ensemble, transformer l'Afrique, révéler ses richesses et en faire un continent d'égalité, de liberté et de respect."
The English translation is: "Eric's verses have inspired us as they powerfully reflect the strength of our continent: It's US, the youth! If we organize ourselves, then together we can transform Africa, reveal its wealth and create a continent of equality, liberty and respect."
The winners also receive a $500 prize each and a songwriting credit on the track that will be released by Universal on 4 September.