MTV Shuga Naija debuts new season in South Africa

Monde Twala with Jemina Osunde and the MTV Shuga Down South cast

Since 2009, MTV Shuga, together with the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, has attempted – through a youth-focused series – to foster discussions around the issues of unplanned pregnancy and HIV/AIDS on the continent.

According to Monde Twala, the VP for Youth, Music and BET at VIMN Africa, MTV Shuga aims to highlight issues that are prevalent with young people on the African continent. It is a show that can be watched by African parents with their children, bringing African solutions to African problems.

The series, created in Kenya, has since been screened in a number of other African countries and become hugely popular with young people across the continent. MTV Shuga is broadcast globally on 180 platforms and has won several accolades including the Best Youth Programme at the recent South African Film and TV Awards (SAFTAs). Popular editions include MTV Shuga Down South from South Africa and MTV Shuga Naija from Nigeria.

On the evening of 20 March 2018, MTV Shuga premiered its new season of MTV Shuga Naija at MultiChoice’s DStv cinema in Randburg, South Africa.

The affair was hosted by Sandile Ntshingila, and attended by the MTV Shuga Down South cast, media representatives as well as young and outspoken fans of the show. MTV Shuga Naija’s Jemima Osunde, who can be remembered for her role in MTV Shuga Naija season 4 as Leila, was the special guest who flew in to promote season 6 of the show.

Twala opened the evening’s proceedings, with a few words regarding the widespread success of the MTV Shuga brand; he also welcomed the lively young audience, who were treated to an exclusive screening of episode 3 and 4 of MTV Shuga Naija season 6.

“We are thrilled to be bringing another instalment of MTV Shuga on the continent. We can’t wait to share the exciting new storylines and important messaging on family planning and sexual health that we’re touching on this season,” said Twala.

Set in Nigeria’s vibrant capital city of Lagos, as well as the contrasting settings in the Northern Kano and Kaduna regions, the series is written by MTV Shuga Naija season 4’s Chris Ihidero and Emma Uduma. Some of the cast from season 4 will also appear on the current season. Returning cast members include Timini Egbuson, Sharon Ezeamaka, Olumide Oworu and Jemima Osunde. Osunde, who was present at the event in Randburg, shared on how the show has positively impacted her studies as a medical student.

Through her involvement in the show, she has had the opportunity to talk to and encourage young girls who are living through what she and the MTV Shuga cast are acting. The show works with various organisations including the NGO Mothers2Mothers, which educates HIV positive women on how to protect their unborn children from becoming infected. The show also hosts focused research groups to help the cast tackle different themes that are portrayed on the show, as well as workshops on how to respond to viewers who communicate with them regarding similar dilemmas they find themselves in.

MTV Shuga Down South’s Stephanie Sandows spoke on how she still gets messages on social media regarding the role she once played of a young girl in a transactional relationship tackling the blesser and blessee dynamics.

Sandows retold some of the stories she has been told by young girls, and how grateful she is to MTV Shuga for offering her the knowledge and guidance to address such situations.

MTV Shuga Naija season 6 screens on MTV Base (Channel 322), every Wednesday at 21h30 CAT.

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Gezzy S. Sibisi is a senior journalist at Screen Africa. She is experienced in print, broadcast and digital media. Her portfolio of work includes working as a lifestyle reporter as well as contributing business and education articles to The Times, Sowetan, and Daily Dispatch publications. As a freelancer, she has worked on content development for corporate newsletters, community newspapers, blogs and educational websites.


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