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 1 aired on SABC1 from 3-24 May, 2007, on Thursdays at 21h00. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are four hour-long episodes in the first 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?
The show is filmed on location around Gauteng, including places such as Soweto, Houghton, Northcliff, Club Sudada and the OR Tambo Airport.
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