Society is a South African television drama series created by Makgano Mamabolo and Lodi Matsetela and produced by Puo Pha Productions about four friends who are brought together years after leaving school when an old friend of theirs commits suicide.
A young woman, Dineo, commits suicide and four of her friends - Akua, Lois, Innocentia and Beth, who had drifted apart over the years - are brought together by her death and find themselves assisting Dineo's desperate mother to pay for the funeral; forming a makeshift Society.
Eventually they realise that they were all unwittingly drawn into her suicide by Dineo herself, and this makes them realise that letting go of what caused them to drift apart and reuniting is what they need to do.
Akua considers filling the void in her life with quick fixes such as a toy boy and adopting a baby. The rekindling of their friendship presents an alternative opportunity to fill that void in her life. She needs some meaningful relationships in her life – and so do they all.
Being the one who is initially notified of Dineo's death she is the one who seems to spearhead the reunion. Things are fine until she finds out that Inno is dating her toy boy. She has to consider whether these are the kind of friends she needs to fill the void in her life with.
Lois on the other hand finds herself happily married after qualifying as a surgeon, yet secretly resentful of her pregnancy. She's on a self-destructive path of subconsciously aborting her baby. When she meets the girls she openly drinks and smokes in front of them until they confront her.
It is also revealed that she had an abortion in high school. Her husband is shocked by this revelation.
Innocentia is a man-eating minor celebrity living the jet-set lifestyle, or so she'd like everyone to believe. She finds herself harassed by a stalker and has to admit the part she has played in creating the threatening situation she eventually finds herself in.
After she realises that the toy-boy she was using was also dating Akua she has a hard time getting the others to believe that she didn't know.
Feeling a little vulnerable after a disparaging article appears about her in the papers Inno decides to invite everyone to her place, into her life, revealing to them the manner in which she really lives her life - but all their lives are put in danger when her gun-wielding stalker comes to her door.
Beth is a teacher at a private girls school. She is in a loving relationship and can afford a beautiful house and a luxury car. All of this subscribes to society's expectation of an economically-empowered black woman - the only discrepancy is the fact that she is a lesbian.
This prevents her from appreciating the good life that she is leading. With added pressure from her life partner, Beth finally gets the courage to come out to her newfound friends, as well as to the world.
When her quiet secret life is interrupted by Dineo's death, Beth has to consider how she is going to let her old friends know that she is now leading the life of a lesbian, if she decides to do it at all.
Eventually Thuli and her decide to affirm their relationship and their sexuality by joining the gay pride march.
Had it not been for Dineo seeking them out on the day that she died and bringing them together, would these women ever have come to the realisation that they truly need each other as friends and companions that love each other?
Society is set in the urban jungle of post-apartheid South Africa, Johannesburg. An icon of prosperity and everything that Africa could be, most of its residents are still digging for gold in the corporate structures and environments of the modern age, but in essence still seeking their fortune.
Many South Africans and other Africans make the pilgrimage to this city all with the hopes that they'll be able to realise and live the African dream. The main characters are just four of the 4-million people living in and around the city.
The universe of Society seeks to put a microscope on the effects freedom and free trade has had on the lives of young black South Africans, BEE Buppies, who are taking advantage of all that the city has to offer.
It is an urban cosmopolitan environment, which supports the lifestyles that the characters in the series choose to live. It is 21st century South Africa, a country full of opportunity, a world where it's everyone for himself and ubuntu is a catchword more popular with the white population.
During the apartheid era, black communities set up informal saving schemes, known as Societies, to assist each other in burying their loved ones, because they were barred from using the existing financial infrastructures that were reserved for the white population.
The title of the series is derived from these schemes. It is also a direct reference to the definition of the word society. The unwritten rules of a particular culture, that society's expectations and norms of young black women in particular, living in an era of plenty.
The show was made by fledgling production company Puo Pha (which means "tell it like it is"), which was founded by Makgano Mamabolo (of Mazinyo Dot Q fame) and business partner Lodi Matsetela (award-winning writer for Home Affairs and City Ses'la) in 2004.
Society was Puo Pha's first television production.
It is directed by first-time drama director Vincent Moloi and the Director of Photography is Natalie Haarhoff. It was written by Mamabolo and Matsetela.
Ferry Jele received a nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Drama at the second annual South African Film and Television Awards (SAFTAs) in October 2007, for her role as Thuli.
The first season (which at the time was billed as a mini-series) aired on SABC1 from 18 January to 8 February, 2007, on Thursdays at 21h00. There are four hour-long episodes in the first season.
Following generally positive reviews the channel commissioned a second season of 26 episodes. Episodes in the second season are half an hour in length.