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.
Season 1 originally aired on SABC1 from 3 February to 28 April, 1999, on Wednesdays at 20h30. New episodes broadcast weekly.
A rebroadcast of Season 1 aired on SABC1 from 9 August to 13 September, 2012, on Thursdays at 22h00. New episodes broadcast in a double bill, weekly. There are 13 episodes in the first season.
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.
(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
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.
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