Twenty-One Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities Win the Trip of a Lifetime to South Africa, Courtesy of Coca-Cola

ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- It sounds like a dream college course description: embark on cultural adventures against the backdrop of the world's biggest sporting event. No prerequisites, no professor, no syllabus, no books and no tests required. But for 21 students from 12 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), this "dream" is a real once-in-a-lifetime journey to South Africa later this month.

The students are winners of the Coca-Cola "Open Happiness Tour," a video contest that sought creative and inspirational answers to the question: How does the Coca-Cola RAIN program inspire you? As part of a multifaceted sponsorship program inspired by the first FIFA World Cup(TM) being held in Africa, Coca-Cola is inviting consumers to join its football-themed, global Coca-Cola RAIN "Water for Schools" initiative to help provide safe drinking water for schoolchildren in Africa and around the world.

"The Open Happiness Tour allows Coca-Cola the opportunity to engage and inspire young African Americans while connecting them with their roots," said Yolanda White, assistant vice president, African American Marketing, Coca-Cola North America. "We hope experiencing the diverse culture and meeting people who will be in South Africa for World Cup will inspire these students to view the world differently and make a commitment to creating a better place for everyone to live."

The 21 winners will head to South Africa on June 25, where they will spend five days soaking up the South African culture and learning more about Africa's water crisis. During their visit, the students will meet with executives from Coca-Cola South Africa, who will share what the Company is doing in support of the RAIN project as well as learn about other initiatives throughout Africa, including HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, access to education, job creation and humanitarian assistance. In addition, the students will see first-hand the extreme need for potable water when they visit a local orphanage whose water system is in dire need of repairs. The Company will make a donation to assist with the repairs of the water system and, once the project is completed, the orphanage will have clean running water for cooking, bathing and other necessities.

The students also will have the opportunity to explore more facets of South African culture when they take a trip to the Nelson Mandela National Museum, go on a Safari and attend a FIFA World Cup match. The students will get another perk during their time in South Africa - meeting with actor Idris Elba, whose father is from Sierra Leone and mother is from Ghana. Elba will spend time with the students throughout the trip, discussing water stewardship and its importance to Africa and his passion for the World Cup, as well as providing his unique perspective on the local culture.

"I look forward to sharing my love for Africa with the students," said Elba. "Through experiencing Africa's rich history and the wonderful diversity of its culture, the students will be amazed and enriched. I hope they grow to love Africa as much as I do."

"This tour, just like drinking a Coca-Cola, is a refreshing and simple moment of pleasure that we're able to give to these students. To be able to have this once-in-a-lifetime experience during FIFA World Cup is something they will never forget," said White.

For more information about the Coca-Cola water stewardship programs, including the RAIN program, please visit

Meet the Student Winners

STUDENT             HBCU                            STUDENT HOMETOWNS

                    Clark Atlanta University
Funbi Oluwole                                       Atlanta, GA
                    (Atlanta, GA)

Alisa Routh         Florida A&M University
                                                    Tallahassee, FL
Justin Smith        (Tallahassee, FL)

Tatiana Mosley      Fayetteville State University   Charlotte, NC

Junious Smith III   (Fayetteville, NC)              Fayetteville, NC

Jasmine Singleton   Ft. Valley State University
                                                    Atlanta, GA
Graylin Taylor      (Ft. Valley, GA)

Jelyse Dawson       Grambling State University      Grambling, LA

Derrill Miller      (Grambling, LA)                 Richton Park, IL

Lael Clark          Johnson C. Smith University
                                                    Charlotte, NC
Tremone Jackson     (Charlotte, NC)

                    Morehouse College
Stephen Love                                        Bennettsville, SC
                    (Atlanta, GA)

Ashley Canty        Norfolk State University        Glen Allen, VA

Victor Pimentel     (Norfolk, VA)                   Norfolk, VA

Edifon Ette         Southern University             Baton Rouge, LA

Sherron Douglas     (Baton Rouge, LA)               Shreveport, LA

                    Spelman College
Karen Evans                                         Atlanta, GA
                    (Atlanta, GA)

Cherish Rush        Texas Southern
                                                    Houston, TX
Ryan Small          (Houston, TX)

Theresa Scales      Xavier University               Los Angeles, CA

Steve Morgan, Jr.   (New Orleans, LA)               New Orleans, LA

About The Coca-Cola Company

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE: KO) is the world's largest beverage company, refreshing consumers with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. Along with Coca-Cola, recognized as the world's most valuable brand, the Company's portfolio includes 12 other billion dollar brands, including Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, vitaminwater, Powerade, Minute Maid, Simply and Georgia Coffee. Globally, we are the No. 1 provider of sparkling beverages, juices and juice drinks and ready-to-drink teas and coffees. Through the world's largest beverage distribution system, consumers in more than 200 countries enjoy the Company's beverages at a rate of 1.6 billion servings a day. With an enduring commitment to building sustainable communities, our Company is focused on initiatives that protect the environment, conserve resources and enhance the economic development of the communities where we operate. For more information about our Company, please visit our website at

About Idris Elba

Previously best known as the calculating leader of a Baltimore drug empire in HBO's critically acclaimed original series The Wire, British actor Idris Elba left the series in 2004 and went on to make his leading role debut in the HBO Original Film, Sometimes In April. A prolific run of leading roles in film followed, with Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls, the thriller The Reaping opposite Hilary Swank and the horror thriller 28 Weeks Later. Idris next starred in Ridley Scott's award-winning film American Gangster and collaborated on its soundtrack with Jay-Z, before he returned to London to film Guy Ritchie's RocknRolla. April 2009 saw Idris's crime thriller Obsessed, in which he starred opposite Beyonce Knowles, hit the number one spot at the US box office. 2010 has so far seen Idris bring Legacy, a thriller that he executive-produced, to the Tribeca Film Festival and star alongside Zoe Saldana and Jeffrey Dean Morgan in the Warner Bros actioner The Losers. Next up, in August 2010, Idris will headline the heist thriller Takers with Matt Dillon, Paul Walker, T.I. and Hayden Christensen and in 2011 he will be seen in Kenneth Branagh's much-anticipated epic, Thor.

    Source: The Coca-Cola Company