Yizo Yizo

Genres: Drama



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Yizo Yizo is a South African television drama series created and written by Teboho Mahlatsi, Peter Esterhuysen, Harriet Perlman, Mtutuzeli Matshoba and Angus Gibson and produced by Laduma Film Factory in association with The Shooting Party which looks at problems faced by pupils in South Africa's education system as a result of a breakdown in the culture of learning and teaching leading to a sense of helplessness among parents, students and teachers.

The series originally aired on SABC1 from 3 February, 1999 to 8 July, 2004. There are 39 episodes in three seasons. Episodes were half an hour long in the first season, but expanded to hour-long episodes for the last two seasons. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.

A rebroadcast of Season 3 premiered on SABC1 on Thursday 27 December 2012, at 22h00. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 13 episodes in the third and final season.

Series Overview

A gritty, uncompromising television drama series set in a township school that achieved record-breaking audiences and cult status amongst South Africa's youth.

Rape, murder, prostitution, abuse, HIV/AIDS. Serious issues. The series wanted to contextualize them for people with the power of music, laughter, friendship and glamour to match the gritty authenticity of the work. Simple, universal themes proved their power to move audiences.

Street language made it into the family lounge and gave different generations the insight to a shared vocabulary with which to describe their reality.

Issues of drug abuse, gangsterism and rape are tackled. Focusing on Supatsela High School, the story revolves around an autocratic cane-wielding principal who is forced to leave after he assaults a pupil. His successor is weak and corrupt and the situation in the school deteriorates with gangsters and criminal elements filtering through.

The principal is eventually dismissed and replaced by Grace Letsatsi and under her leadership, the community get together to retake ownership of the school. The students are empowered and able to express their views.

The first season won five Avanti Awards including Best Production and Best Director. It also won the Japan Award and was screened at festivals in London, Rotterdam, New York and Barcelona.

Ronnie Nyakale gave such a riveting performance as Papa Action that gangsters across the country saluted him as the ultimate thug. Ronnie won the Best Supporting Actor Avanti Award.

Season 1

Yizo Yizo is the story of an ordinary school overcoming extraordinary obstacles. It is about the struggle of ordinary people to learn, play, teach, read, dream, love and find their place in the world.

The school year starts at what seems a well-ordered Supatsela High. This reflects the efforts of the current principle, a strict and conservative man who attempts to make the most of limited resources.

It soon becomes clear however, that his authoritarian style holds together by force a situation that is fundamentally unsound, and that it cannot continue to do so when the cracks in the ordered relationships of the school and its community begin to widen.

After a student is badly beaten at his hands, the principal is replaced by a charismatic BMW-driving colleague, who is in the pocket of the local township gangster.

An end-of-term bash plummets Supatsela High into chaos. The start of the new term finds students and teachers facing a situation that has turned from bad to worse.

Will drugs and gangsterism mean the end of Supatsela High? Can students and teachers work together to turn this ugly situation around?

Amid the education crisis, students grapple with the realities of teenage social life, where social confidence, academic success, emerging identities and sexualities are played across and between the boundaries of different social groups.

Additional Cast

(See below for starring cast)

Vusi Mkhele ... Lesego
King Twala ... Mr Nyembe
Mabel Mafuya ... Gogo
Dominic Tyawa ... Bra Gibb
Abbey Maena ... Mandrax Smoker
Vuzi Mkhele ... Lesego
Sello Mothibedi ... Mkhize
Cikizwa Mlilo ... Zweli Shai
Vincent Mabitsela ... Timi
Fani Radebe ... Baby Themba
Thami Williams ... Lawrence
Duduzile Mdakane ... Lungi
Pearl Zondi ... Shirley
Palesa Rathebe ... Yvonne
Elizabeth Cebekhulu ... Pretty
Phillip Busane ... Kane
Vincent Ngema ... Abel
Vuyo Babe ... S'botho
Sello Moeketsi ... Man in Suit
Luyolo Dambusa ... Chop Shop Man

Season 2

It's the start of the new school year and the violence that engulfed the school the previous year has been contained. Basic security has been established.

The new principal has achieved a level of order and stability. She is also determined to nurture learning and developing standards. But she can't do it alone.

Supatsela High struggles to find its right path and learns along the way that education is not only about passing exams. It's also about nurturing young lives and grappling with the many problems that learners face - hunger, drugs, indifference, cruelty and violence. It's about working together to make a difference.

Season 1 awakened the South African public to the reality and problems facing students and teachers in the majority of South African schools. Research conducted across four provinces showed that Season 1 succeeded in breaking a cycle of ignorance and denial among parents and provided a critical platform for young black South Africans to have their experiences reflected and addressed.

With the advent of Season 2, psychological and emotional dialogues could now be explored against an established landscape, as a relationship of trust with the audience has been cultivated.

The series was given the permission to push the limits. Say the unsaid. Show the unseen. It provided audience with an environment within which they could start re-defining their identity and their relationships with parents, police, government, doctors and peers.

The vital kwaito music of the township was used not just as a soundtrack, but as part of the dialogue with the audience. The first album went platinum. The second album went triple platinum in just four months.

Long before Yizo Yizo there was a voice reflecting the joy, anger and hope of young people. Kwaito music. Yizo Yizo embraced the spirit and energy of that voice and introduced it to television drama.

Additional Cast

(See below for starring cast)

King Twala ... Mr Nyembe
Mabel Mafuya ... Gogo
Petronella Mpolanyane ... Zoe
Dominic Tyawa ... Bra Gibb

Season 3

Season 3 follows the central characters on their journey after matric as they step out into the world. The third season represents post-school youth who leave school, home, their families and the familiar world of the townships to face new adventures in the city.

Characters move to the inner city, some attending university and technikon, others looking for work. They face unemployment, explore entrepreneurial possibilities, gain life skills and accept responsibility for their lives as young adults.

Season 3 illustrates the value of innovation, self-affirmation, human tolerance and respect, community action and gender equality.

The season explores themes such as work and lifelong learning, sexuality and identity, community renewal and support, crime and xenophobia.

Joining the cast and crew of Season 3 are Craig Palm, Marcel van Heerden, Sindi Khambule, Smangele Mbatha, Mike Fola, Makhaola Ndebele, Shelly Meskin and many more.

Well known TV faces such as comedic star Motshabi Tyelele (Madam & Eve) portrays the villain Ria and Moagi Modise (Stokvel) plays a heartless sugar daddy.

Audiences can look forward to meeting the lovable duo, Bobo and Sticks as they battle trying to make ends meet, both of them going in different directions with unexpected results.

Javas is in a technikon, revelling in the joys of his new found freedom, out of the clasp of Baba Nyembe. Nomsa and Thiza are at university grappling with identity and the heavy workload.

Mantwa continues to study for matric whilst her mother Lily and Zakes take on corruption.

Some of the characters move into a building in downtown Johannesburg, San Jose, which becomes the new home to Yizo Yizo. Within San Jose we meet a whole new world of people both good and bad and our characters have to carve out a space for themselves.

Additional Cast

(See below for starring cast)

Sabelo Selekiso ... China
Gift Adams ... Themba
Kiki Ndlela ... Slovaz
Jerry Kai-Lewis ... Jay Jay
Tshepo wa-Mamatu ... Tebza
Mike Fola ... Ade


Series exclusive to SABC1. Rebroadcast dates included.

Season 1 (13 episodes)

Premiere: 3 February 1999 | Finale: 28 April 1999 | Wednesdays, 20h30
Premiere: 9 August 2012 | Finale: 13 September 2012 | Thursdays, 22h00

Season 2 (13 episodes)

Premiere: 20 February 2001 | Finale: 15 May 2001 | Tuesdays, 20h30
Premiere: 20 September 2012 | Finale: 20 December 2012 | Thursdays, 22h00

Season 3 (13 episodes)

Premiere: 1 April 2004 | Finale: 8 July 2004 | Thursdays, 21h00
Premiere: 27 December 2012 | Finale: 28 March 2013 | Thursdays, 22h00


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