Soul Buddyz is a South African youth drama television series produced by Soul City: IHDC and SABC Education and set in any urban centre in South Africa which closely reflects the lives, struggles and joys of 8-12 year olds in our changing society.
The story revolves around a group of children who hang out in a park after school.
These children from different backgrounds find an old abandoned taxi and make it their headquarters. This is where they laugh and cry and live their young lives to the full. They are the Soul Buddyz.
Their slogan is: "Tomorrow is ours."
Interwoven into the drama are serious issues which children deal with on a daily basis, including: AIDS, relationships, sexuality, bullying, abuse, corporal punishment, road safety and other accidents like burns and drowning and dealing with disability - especially the rights of children with disability.
All the issues are clearly framed within the South African constitution and the UN convention on the rights of the child. Children are encouraged to express their rights and also to examine their responsibilities.
Soul Buddyz was specifically developed for 8 to 12-year olds, with consistently the highest audience ratings in its category.
Due to the success of the first two seasons, SABC moved the 18h30 prime time slot to a later prime time slot of 19h00.
The series appeals not only to children, but also to the broader family, specifically the parents of 8 - 12 year olds. With strong real-life stories that affect children, their parents and their teachers, it delivers the positive message that all irrespective of age should – and can talk about issues.
Soul Buddyz was developed specifically with this age group in mind because attitudes are often formed during this critical time and yet, in the context of a rapidly transforming society with technological changes as well as social changes, the needs and aspirations of children between the ages of 8-12 years old are often neglected.
Emotional and health problems often originate or become embedded in this age group, with social problems such as physical and sexual abuse severely retarding the potential of many children.
It also breaks the stereotype that children are incapable of making informed choices and reinforces the message that kids can be active citizens in society.
Soul Buddyz was produced for Soul City: Institute for Health and Development Communication and SABC Education by Bobby Heaney Productions.
The series aired on SABC1 from 15 August, 2000 to 4 July, 2011. There are 130 half-hour episodes in five seasons.