A story told by young people touching on social issues that affects them

 

MTV Shuga Down South season 2 promises to be nothing but a hard hitting season going into depth with issues such as HIV, Sexual abuse, Masculinity,  gender based violence and LGBTQ.

Attending the premier at Grand II Monte Casino on Wednesday night, meeting the characters seeing the excitement and enthusiasm written all over, season 2 has new characters that bring fresh and dynamic storylines.

Georgia Amold the executive director of MTV Staying Alive Foundation and senior vice president for social responsibility at Viacom international Media networks said the MTV staying alive foundation has been going for 20 years.

“We were set up to make sure that young people from the world have really good accurate information about their own sexuality, so they can make their own decisions  so we produced sugar to dramatize a lot of real life stories at the time,” said Amold.

The three year conjunction between  Unitaid , the Mtv staying alive foundation (MTVsaf) and London school of Hygiene and Tropical medicine ventilate and evaluate storylines on HIV innovation ,Self-testing and preventive drugs.

“So when we set up we had to find like-minded partners to help us in terms of funding like Unitaid, but then to make sure that we are working with the right people on the ground,’ she said.

Amold said they want to encourage young people to get tested with storylines that resonate with them.

The Sugar movement has proven to positively impact the youth around the world specializing in changing their behavior.

Monde Twala VIMN Africa VP for youth, music and BET said Sugar is a combination of African stories, culture and Pan African view on issues that affect them.

“Sugar is a drama series that’s rooted in youth culture since 2009 the series has really evolved over time in terms of its ability to address youth issues, young people are challenged and they want answers,’ he said.

He added: “Young people are ambitious now and robust about what they consume and what narrative they consume,”

Speaking to Samke Makhoba who plays the role of Khensani a naïve and troubled teenager who got pregnant by her teacher on the 1st season; she said her role this season request for justice for her friend who died in season1.

“With Khensani this year we also tackles the issues of mental illness as my character goes to depression, and I had to recall me as Samke going through depression and I really don’t know anyone who hasn’t gone to that stage,’ she said.

She added: “I have gone to depression before and it wasn’t really difficult to portray her character,”

 

(Socialite Lasizwe also attended  the premiere)

 

In 10 years MTV Shuga has produced over 50 episodes, edutainment with upcoming series from Nigeria and Cote D’Ivoire.

The excited multi award winning creative director Tishiwe Ziqubu said the preparation of the drama was intense.

“We had about 6 weeks of pre-production, which is not nearly enough on the project of this nature, we had the biggest cast and the most location in just 10 episodes.

She said a lot of preparation of the story is far most in depth than she is used to telling.

“So a lot of preparationwere to getting the visuals from the art director to make up and it was indeed an incredible amount of work but worth it,” said Ziqubu.

Mohau Cele who portrays the role of Bongi who started off in Nigeria then came to South Africa and got infected by HIV/AIDS said, “In this season we get to see how she lives life with HIV as a 19 year old, so we’re looking at this young girl who’s living with this virus and trying to figure life out,” said Cele.

The beauty about MTV Shuga Down South is that it definitely is not a lecture about HIV/AIDS but a combination of storytelling and also create skills exchange with common challenges that face young people.

The 2nd Season of Sugar will be aired in April on MTV Base.

 

(Top image: Season 2 cast members of Shuga, joined by local artists whose music is featured on the series, seen on the black carpet at the premiere)

 

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By Zingiswa Mndayi

Images by Yami Nhlenyama

 

 

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