48 hours spent in the company of Emmanuel Adebayor and Wizkid was always going to be special. But it was only when an articulated bus – filled with girls, boys, DJs and a sound system pumping out Afrobeat tunes – as well as a convoys of SUVs pulled up outside the dusty airport in Togo to greet the Nigerian superstar and his entourage, that we started to realise quite how mad it could be.
We were there to film the SEA Youth Festival, a two-night party where Wizkid and a host of other stars from the west coast music scene were going to perform at Stade Municipal in Togo’s capital Lomé. It had been organised by Ade as a celebration of the music scene that he loves so much but also as his chance to give back to young people in Togo. We were all there to shine a light on the incredible potential young people represent.
And given that 48% of Togo’s population is under the age of 18, that’s a hell of a lot of people and a hell of a lot of potential to celebrate. It was going to be a big party.
It was also a moment for Ade to get a bunch of his mates on stage and have a good time. But first he had work to attend to, and so did we. The festival was happening on the same weekend as the Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Togo and Liberia. We’d been invited to film it. We were just hoping, along with the whole of Togo, that Ade would score.
Our team was from all corners; Dom, our creative director, and I had flown out with the video director Matt from London to Ghana. We were going to link up with our photographer Neil Massey who was flying in from Vietnam – you’ll see; he really is that good – and JP, Matt’s cousin who owns a creative agency in Accra. From there we’d drive to Lomé – buy a bling coffin from the roadside stalls on the way – and arrive in time to catch Wizkid arriving at the airport.