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MTV Shuga: Down South 2 to tackle our most pressing issues

February 9, 2019

Issues around HIV/AIDS are not restricted only to the 1st of December, and issues surrounding the youth are not only about June 16. These issues plague everyone living in South Africa every day – young and old.

MTV Shuga - Season 2 Just Trimmings
Somizi Mhlongo and fiancé Mohale Motaung at the World Premiere of MTV Shuga: Down South 2, where Mohale will be making his acting debut . Image supplied.

MTV Shuga: Down South makes a come back with season 2 as it continues to follow the lives of a group of vibrant young South Africans. Young South Africans who are fighting to keep their hopes alive, make their dreams come true, all the while fighting their own demons too.

A concept film that has played across Africa, Shuga aims to entertain while educating you about a variety of difficulties that affect all of us whether directly or indirectly. These problems include:

  • Sexual abuse
  • HIV self-testing
  • Bullying
  • HIV preventive drugs
  • PrEP
  • Sexual identity
  • Toxic Masculinity

This second season of MTV Shuga: Down South dives deeper and looks closely not only at the characters but their reasons for being. Not giving either of them as an excuse for being who and what they are, but rather humanising them instead.

MTV Shuga - Season 2 Just Trimmings
Ayanda Makayi as Sol at the World Premiere of MTV Shuga: Down South 2. Image supplied.

I definitely felt conflicted while watching the first episode. Take Sol for instance – played by Ayanda Makayi – an entitled rich kid who just landed from his time in prison and still likes buying high school girls and expecting a lil sum-sum in return if you know what I mean. On one hand, I despise him – rightfully so – for pursuing young impressionable girls for the sole purpose of using them for, well, whatever he deems fit really. Yet, on the other hand, I feel sorry for him because we get a glimpse of life at home with what some (or most) may describe as a cold-hearted brute.

One of the aspects that this show will highlight is living positively with HIV/AIDS. Very often those that are infected are left out in the cold, while the focus remains on keeping those who are negative – negative. Don’t get me wrong, those who are negative need to do all they can to keep it that way. But let us not forget that the number of people that are infected with HIV/AIDS is substantial enough to refer to the rate of this infectious virus as an epidemic. With that being said, nobody can afford to place people living with HIV/AIDS in a corner – and I am proud to have seen that MTV Shuga: Down South most definitely does not do this. They instead follow the perfectly normal life of Bongi – played by Mohau Cele. Through her character expect to see some of the challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS may be facing. One would ignorantly assume they stress about the state of their health. Thankfully, in this day and age with all the drugs we have available at our disposable, their health is automatically taken care of only if they drink their ARVs and take care of themselves. Instead, it does, in fact, turn out that one of the challenges that people living with HIV/AIDS is dating. Yes, ladies and gentle brothers, dating. Which when you think about it, it makes sense. Even though we have a wealth of information on this currently incurable disease that is manageable, the stigma still lingers on like we are living in the 1980s.

Given the current turbulent turmoils of South Africa right now, MTV Shuga: Down South 2 has come at the right time to shed some light and hopefully thaw some hearts.

Having watched only the first episode at the World Premiere of MTV Shuga: Down South 2, there were some unfortunate out of focus shots here and there, and this particular episode felt rushed. There is little to no time for the viewer to stew a bit in the scene and take it in for what it is truly worth. Thishiwe Ziqubu, one of the three directors for MTV Shuga: Down South 2, did reassure us that the pace will slow down and we’ll get enough time to witness each character develop.

Be sure to check out MTV Shuga: Down South 2 on MTV Base on the 12th of February at 21:05 on DStv channel 322.

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