With just three days to go until the fifth season of MTV’s Shuga premieres on local screens, we get to know the cast of MTV Shuga Down South (commonly referred to as #MTVShugaDS on social media).
We hit up the premiere last week and got a taste of the first three episodes and we can guarantee, it’s going to be a hit.
Dubbed “Down South,” season 5 will play out in “the cool clubs, hangouts and schools of Braamfontein and the fictional South African township of Zenzele.
If you are not familiar with Shuga, it is an award-winning edutainment drama that has, according to MTV, been proven to actively change behaviour relating to HIV prevention. It is now turning its focus on the issues of sexual and reproductive health among the youth of South Africa.
Helping to bring the themes of sexual identity, STD’s, teen pregnancy, transactional sex and more to life are the likes of Thuso Mbedu, Clint Brink, Jezriel Skei, Lerato Walaza and more.
Some faces are more familiar than others but after this season, you’re bound to know all their names. MTV made a concerted effort to put new talent on the map both behind the scenes and in front of the camera with their open calls for brand new talent.
Meet the cast….
Reggie played by Given Stuurman
The Zenzele local is described as having ”mad graffiti skills,” he is also a part of the school soccer team and is a popular member of his crew which is a hard thing to achieve when your dad is also your teacher.
His father is a man with very strong traditional values and as such, doesn’t agree with his son’s penchant for art, which is also why he probably can’t see the identity crisis bubbling beneath the surface. Reggie fortunately has Bongi to lean on through it all.
Bongi played by Mohau Cele
Featured on a previous season of Shuga, Bongi returns to the show and we get a glimpse of her journey as she has to returns to Zenzele to live with her Aunt Nomalanga (played by Sthandiwe Kgoroge), since her parents are setting up a new business in Rwanda.
One theme that will remain constant is Bongi’s longing for the Lagos life that she got used to, but will she be able to let it go and embrace her new life long enough to give her singing career the boost it needs?
DJ Coalstove played by Phila Mazibuko
DJ Coalstove comes into the story when Zenzele’s freshest face catches his eye. They chat, sparks fly and they’re brought closer together by their love for similar music.
Described as the guy that “provides the freshest mixes in all of Zenzele,” with an unrivalled passion for music, seeing him on the decks is apparently like seeing a master at work. But you know what they say about DJ’s… Will Coalstove settle down and give love a chance or will things end differently?
Femi played by Emmanuel Ikubese
One of Bongi’s friends from back home (and previous seasons of Shuga) Femi has also moved to Joburg to settle into his role as the new manager of Club Surge (owned by his old friend Rakeem).
Seeing as he has made the move from Lagos to Joburg, Femi will have a lot on his plate. In addition to maintaining a long-distance relationship with his girlfriend Sheila, he will have to deal with a demanding boss (Rakeem) and the multiple temptations in the city of gold.
Leo played by Nick Mutuma
Also returning to the show is the day-one character Leo. His time in Nigeria has turned sour, and all the hopes he had at first are fading away.
“A bad encounter with his previous girlfriend Sophie has scarred our Nairobi boy, and Naija no longer feels like home. Escaping the familiar faces of Lagos is an absolute priority. Lucky for him, his boy Femi has moved Down South, providing the perfect opportunity for Leo to escape his woes,” explains MTV.
But as it always does, his past will catch up with him… *plays dramatic music*
Sheila played by Adesua Etomi
Even though Sheila is living it up in Lagos, her and Femi have decided to stay together while he starts his new life in South Africa.
Will their relationship survive the obstacles thrown at them?
Khensani played by Samkelisiwe Makhoba
Discovered through MTV’s public auditions in Jo’burg, the University of Witswatersrand graduate will be taking on her first lead role as the 15-year-old preacher’s daughter Khensani. Described as the type that prefers life’s simple pleasures, Khensani just wants to get on with school, kick it with her friends and search for love.
But the goody-two-shoes ends up in a relationship with an older man, and we all know how that can sometimes have serious consequences… We’ll have to watch the show to find out how that plays out though.
Tsholo played by Stephanie Sandows
Although she’s Miss goody-two-shoes Khensani’s bestie, Tsholo’s desires are completely different. Homegirl is all about trying to keep up with the latest trends but she lacks the funds to live that life.
Her father Robert (played by Tshepo Maseko) is constantly on the road, so she has all the time in the world to get creative about how she’s going to live the life she wants. But without having her own money, who is she going to turn to in order to live the life and how will she pay them back…?
Diliza played by Muzi Mthembu
“Known as a cool dude from the neighbourhood, Diliza (played by Muzi Mthembu) enters Reggie’s life in an important moment” in his identity crisis...
In addition to giving Reggie advice about his personal struggles, “this cool, older guy inspires Reggie to be bold with his graffiti and explore his inner feelings through his artistic skills.”
Sol played by Ayanda Makayi
“Sol is thee guy to know in Zenzele,” according to MTV. He has what he calls “the best Quantum in all of Mzansi,” which he pimped out using his dad’s funds (his father is one of Zenzele’s biggest taxi bosses).
Sol is always on the lookout for new girls and entertains them using his daddy’s money because he believes the quickest way to a girl’s heart is through a flood of gifts. But he always expects something in return for these gifts and when he doesn’t get it, Sol becomes unrecognizable… *plays dramatic music again*
Ipeleng played by Thuso Mbedu
Running the risk of being type-cast is SA’s favourite young actress Thuso Mbedu. She will be bringing a bit of Boni and Winnie to her role as Ipeleng - an ambitious 17-year-old schoolgirl who’s raising her younger brother all by herself after the death of her mother.
It is for this reason that the science virtuoso is laser focused on her education and raising her brother, Lemo. Bills, food, money, school; Ipeleng is stuck in a balancing act of survival. Her job at Club Surge brings in the money but will her new-found role at the club throw of her balancing act?
Storm played by Vanessa Mdee
Tanzanian TV and radio personality and recording star Vanessa Mdee will play Storm – a former beauty queen and dissatisfied trophy wife with a wandering eye who justifies her behaviour with her husband’s apparent lack of interest.
Could Femi’s arrival provide the perfect opportunity for Storm to cause a bit of trouble or can Storm and Rakeem reignite their marriage?
Rakeem played by Clint Brink
Club Surge’s ruthless owner, Rakeem, is rude, arrogant and driven by power, lust and money.
“He sees his hot wife Storm as nothing more than an accessory” and treats her as such. He also doesn’t even try to hide his tastes for other women. But Femi is not having it, even though Rakeem is his boss, Femi will not back down when he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with his boss.
Quinton played by Jezriel Skei
Best known for his award-winning role in SA film “Four Corners,” 17-year old Jezriel Skei is looking to go a different direction with his new role as soccer-mad macho-man “Q” aka “Quinton”. As described by MTV “there’s always that one dude in school who seems to have it all: good looks, athletic ability and a cool girlfriend. For MTV Shuga Down South ‘that dude’ is Q.”
He’s all about maintaining a ‘macho’ rep amongst his friends but his bestie Reggie, sees right through the facade. Deep down inside, Q has a good heart but will it be enough to see him through the challenges he’s about to face?
Zamo played by Lerato Walaza
Zenzele’s resident teen mom and turn up queen, Zamo, is brought to life by Lerato Walaza. She knows what she wants, she is not one to be messed with and she doesn’t take sh... from anyone. “Balancing a busy social life with the challenges of being a mom [to little Spoonkie] is proving to be tough.”
Although her mom occasionally lends a helping hand, Spoonkie is Zamo’s responsibility. Will she be able to keep it up or will something have to give?
MTV Shuga Down South starts on the 8th of March on MTV Base (DSTV Channel 322) and BET Africa (DSTV Channel 129) at 8pm CAT.