After 9 is a South African television drama series created by Sechaba Morojele, Fanney Tsimong and Nhlanhla Ndaba that follows the exploits of black gay men in a modern society, revolving around the passionate love story between Hector and China and delving into the secret underworld of a black gay man and his inner struggles and hopes to find a way to deal with the torment of revealing his true sexuality to his wife and family.
Originally conceptualised as a four-episode, hour-long miniseries, it was revived for a second season of 13 half-hour episodes six years after the first season aired.
After 9 premiered in South Africa on SABC1 on 3 May, 2007. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 2 premiered on SABC1 on Tuesday 13 August 2013, at 20h30. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 13 half-hour episodes in the second season.
The central story revolves around the passionate love story between Hector and China.
China a closeted gay businessman meets Hector an attractive male architect when he is recruited into his family’s successful construction company. Their instant mutual attraction leads them to an inevitable relationship.
At first China thinks he can carry on living his customary double “After 9” lifestyle - a loyal boyfriend to Bokang his long standing fiancé and a secret relationship with another male partner – but pressures on both sides threaten it.
Bokang getting pregnant leads to enormous pressures on China to marry her from his overbearing and powerful family and China falling in love with Hector unleashes a deep rooted desire of wanting to out himself to the world and to his over bearing family.
Kutloano, Bokang’s Machiavellian brother discovers the relationship between China and Hector and sets out to destroy it, he is very homophobic and is also not impressed with China being unfaithful to his sister.
Without wanting to hurt her feelings and destroy her excitement over her pending wedding, Kutloano tells her that China is having an affair. Bokang approaches China questioning him but he denies it.
Thinking about this he begins to see her accusations as an opportune moment to come out and decides to tells her the truth. As he is about to tell her everything, he falls in love with the image of his unborn child in the scan. This impels him to break up with Hector and pursue the wedding in earnest.
Kutloano notices the rift between Hector and China. He approaches Hector and together they devise a scheme to out China to Bokang. This they do by getting Bokang to witness them together in each others arms.
Despite being devastated, betrayed and heartbroken, Bokang is still determined to stay with China to retain their public personas. She decides to stay with him and forces him to keep up the pretence. This suffocates China.
Matters are made worse when Bokang works to speed up the wedding arrangements. Furthermore Hector, now hurt because of his involvement in Kutloano’s devious plan, confesses all to China before leaving him and the company.
Having lost a true love and finding himself trapped in what could become a dishonest eternal existence, can China find the courage to out himself to his overbearing family in order to pursue an honest and true relationship with Hector?
In Season 2, the setting is Johannesburg, a terrain that has endeavored to give everyone a chance to experience the true meaning of freedom. Opportunities are to be taken, choices to be made and lives to be lived.
After 9 is a meeting of two worlds, the high society of upmarket Johannesburg and the middle to lower society found in Soweto.
With the backdrop of BEE, wealth, greed, After 9's two main stories deal with suppressed sexual identities. On the exterior we are dealing with people who have great ambition to succeed, who will stop at nothing to get what they want using deceit, malice and even murder but beneath the surface they are dealing with the meaning of love and self-love and whether they are allowed to express them.
China's journey revisits his journey of wanting to break away from the chains of the heterosexual world with all its underpinnings.
When the secret of his homosexuality is revealed to his high powered parents, he is told to suppress them and live a heterosexual lifestyle, especially since he has been groomed his entire life to run one of the biggest construction companies in the country.
For him this means suppressing a world and lifestyle he has barely experienced, Hector his boyfriend, the homosexual community with its trendy bars and locales and the ever-emerging black homosexuals who are trying to define their space and voice in this new democratic and free country.
Hector re-enters into his life again and this time he seeks to accept his truth that he is gay and find love in Hector and break away from his old after 9 life for good.
Bokang on the other hand is slowly discovering that the life she is living is not real and is missing authenticity and truth. She agreed to live the lie of being with an After 9 even requesting him to live the lie with her.
She is presented with the opportunity of love with a painter and through that invitation she is introduced to the true meaning of love.
Each character in the stories is dealing with negotiating the costs required to attain the truths they have set out to achieve both consciously and subconsciously.
The show was filmed on location around Gauteng, including places such as Soweto, Houghton, Northcliff, Club Sudada and the OR Tambo Airport.
Created by Sechaba Morojele, Fanney Tsimong and Nhlanhla Ndaba, Season 2 was written by Christien le Roux and directed by Morojele, with music by Ezbie Moilwa. It was produced by Bruce Townsend and executive produced by Morojele for Provoke Entertainment.
Note: episodes in Season 1 were an hour long, but in Season 2 were reduced to half-hour episodes. Series exclusive to SABC1.
Season 1 (4 episodes)
Premiere: 3 May 2007 | Finale: 24 May 2007 | Thursdays, 21h00
Season 2 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 13 August 2013 | Finale: 12 November 2013 | Tuesdays, 20h30