Mzansi Magic’s Isthunzi actress Thuso Mbedu is among the few who will be joining the cast of MTV drama series Shuga. Following in Oscar award-winning actress Lupita Nyongo’s footsteps, Mbedu will have a leading role in the new season of the series.
Mbedu will be playing the role of Ipeleng, an ambitious schoolgirl who’s bringing up her younger brother after the death of her mother.
Shuga, an award-winning “edutainment” drama, has actively changed behaviour relating to HIV prevention. It is going into production in Johannesburg this month, turning its lens on the issues of sexual and reproductive health among teenagers and young women in South Africa.
Vanessa Mdee, Mohau Mokoatle Cele, Jezriel Skei, Emmanuel Ifeanyi, Nick Mutuma and Adesua Etomi are to head up the talented cast for the fifth series of Shuga.
Having highlighted issues affecting young people in Kenya and Nigeria for nearly a decade, Shuga is using powerful contemporary storylines and relatable characters for public health messages targeting the South African youth – with a particular focus on adolescent girls and their vulnerability to HIV infection and unintended pregnancy.
A recent report from UNAids claimed the years between 15 and 24 were the most dangerous for young women when it came to HIV infection.
Globally, in 2015, about 7 500 became infected with HIV every week.
In southern Africa, girls aged between 15 and 19 years accounted for 90% of all new HIV infections among 10 to 19-year-olds.
Tanzanian TV and radio personality and recording star Vanessa Mdee will interpret the role of Storm – a dissatisfied trophy wife with a wandering eye.
And 17-year-old Jezriel Skei, best known for his award-winning turn in Four Corners in 2013, will star in the new role of soccer-mad macho man Q, or Quinton.
Set in the cool clubs, hangouts and schools of Braamfontein and the fictional township of Zenzele, Shuga will see the return of veteran cast member and former Mr Nigeria Ikubese Emmanuel Ifeanyi in the role of Femi, a music promoter from Nigeria, who’s been living with HIV for four years.
Adesua Etomi reprises the role of Femi’s girlfriend, Sheila.
Also returning is South African actress Mohau Mokoatle Cele, who plays dissatisfied teenage singer Bongi, as is Nick Mutuma’s Leo, who’s looking to find some escape from his past actions.