MTV Shuga: Down South 2 is set one year on from the previous season, as old and new faces collide in the buzzing downtown hub of Braamfontein and the fictional vibrant township of Zenzele, where the characters come to terms with young adulthood, their relationships, sexual health, happiness and the challenges of self-acceptance and survival.
Part of a three-year partnership with Unitaid – which includes two other seasons to be shot in Côte d'Ivoire – the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine have launched the seventh instalment of the drama series which will introduce and evaluate storylines on HIV-innovation approaches, including HIV self-testing and preventative drugs.
Directed by Thishiwe Ziqubu, Vivek Mehta and previous MTV Breaks winner Mlu Godola, the new season focuses on topical issues in South Africa including toxic masculinity, the realities of living with HIV as a young person, and the root causes of gender-based violence.
MTV Shuga: Down South 2 is packed with interweaving stories of love, betrayal and the difficult decisions that contemporary South African youth face.
Other key plot points include domestic violence, transactional sex, knowing your HIV status, antiretroviral treatment adherence and LGBTQ+ relationships.
A number of actors from Season 5 return, including Thuso Mbedu who reprises her role as Ipeleng, the intelligent university scholar who struggles to balance university life with the pressures of caring for unruly little brother Lemo, played by Tshiamo Molobi.
Given Stuurman also returns as Reggie, the loveable friend who must now learn to navigate life in Braamfontein as an openly gay young man.
Ayanda Makayi is back in Zenzele as criminal Sol, and Samke Makhoba returns as Khensani, who must face life after the loss of her best friend Tsholo.
Other key roles are played by Jezriel Skei, Lerato Walaza, Jemima Osunde, Jet Novuka, Nqobile Sipamla, Gcina Grace Olifant, Sthandiwe Kgoroge and Winnie Ntshaba.
Newcomers to the series include public auditions winner Malibongwe Mdwaba, who was awarded the principal role Kwanele, a fun-loving party boy who works and lives with friend Reggie.
Other new characters include Mohale Motaung, who stars as the charming Odirile; Mamarumo Marokane, who plays sports science student Dineo; Mamodibe Ramodibe, who plays Lesotho-born Arabeng; and Dee Rasedile as Sol's little sister Thuli.
Music has always been at the heart of MTV Shuga, and this season features performances from Patty Monroe, Rowlene Bosman, Melo B and DJ Slique, along with additional contemporary South African artists woven into the storylines.
MTV Shuga: Down South 2 also features a soundtrack which viewers can listen to on Spotify and Soundcloud by searching for the handle "MTV Shuga".
The season is also complemented by a radio drama series, a peer-education programme, a comic book, audience polling, consumer helplines, mobile information service, social media and a range of digital platforms.
Season 7 is executive produced by Sharon King, Sara Piot, Richard Warburton, Georgia Arnold and Harriet Gavshon. The series producers are Lynn Gaines and Siphiwe Hlabangane. Karima Effendi is the head writer.
MTV Shuga: Down South 2 is funded by Unitaid and supported by the South African Government's Department of Health and She Conquers programme, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and Lovelife.
The season is produced on behalf of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and MTV Base by Quizzical Pictures.
Season 7 Cast
(scroll to bottom for available actor bios)
Thuso Mbedu ... Ipeleng
Given Stuurman ... Reggie
Lerato Walaza ... Zamo
Malibongwe Mdwaba ... Kwanele
Mamodibe Ramodibe ... Arabeng
Samke Makhoba ... Khensani
Jezriel Skei ... Q
Mohau Cele ... Bongi
Ayanda Makayi ... Sol
Recurring / Guests
Jet Novuka ... Mthunzi
Winnie Ntshaba ... Neliswe Chauke
Dee Rasedile ... Thuli
Gcina Mkhize ... Amahle (as Gcina Grace Olifant)
Anelisa Phewa ... Andile
Lehlohonolo Makoko ... Abel
Sthandiwe Kgoroge ... Nomalanga
Zenande Mfenyana ... Cynthia Vilakazi
Nqobile Sipamla ... Mam Phumzile
Thembsie Matu ... Mama Chillaz
Makgotso M ... Dudu
Mohale Motaung ... Odirile
Mamarumo Marokane ... Dineo
Tshiamo Molobi ... Lemo
Ben Kgosimore ... Monareng
Simphiwe Khumalo ... Spoonkie
Ange Eric N'guessan ... Daniel
Ebenhaezer Letago ... Masego
Jemima Osunde ... Leila
Thomas Manamela ... Corner Guy 1
Chase Letela ... Corner Guy 2
Ayanda Nhlapo ... Pretty Chick
Fikile Mthimkhulu ... Girl 1
Lethlogonolo Khobo ... Commune Guy 2
Siya Mguda ... Tough Guy / Taxi Driver
Manqoba Mathunjwa ... Minion 2 / Driver
Mpolokeng Chabane ... Thabang
TK Sebothoma ... Zolani (as Tokolla Sebothima)
James Moruthane ... Minion 1 (as Selatole James Moruthane)
Ntombi Zwane ... Drunk Girl (as Ntombikayise Ntombi Zwane)
Gcaba Sifiso Dumisani ... Mechanic
Sthembiso Ndlovu ... DJ
Moeke Lusithi ... Blesser
Yolanda Sikhosana ... Client
Sabelo Maya ... DJ
Sindile Madida ... Hot Girl
Ashleigh LaFoy ... Hot Girl 2 (as Ashleigh La Foy)
Patty Monroe ... Live Act
Prudence Mkhwanazi ... Waitress
Paballo Sempe ... Bully 1
Ofentse Sealogo ... Bully 3
Nupi Makhobo ... Prep Nurse
Siphelele Ntisa ... Lemo's Body Double
Wanele Vilakazi ... Spoonkie (baby)
Okwanele Vilakazi ... Spoonkie (baby)
Bradley Olivier ... Drug Dealer
Sikelelwa Vuyeleni ... Beautiful Girl
Mbali Nkosi ... Bully 2
Lethabo Bereng ... Thanda
Naledi Boltina ... Impatient Nurse
Zukhanye Geza ... Kind Nurse
Emmanuel Matsobane ... Youngster 1
Nqobile Eland ... Shushu
Melo B Jones ... Live Act
Chanene Crawley ... Jade
TKay Kaula ... Khaya (as T-Kay Kaula)
Edward Ndopu ... Edward
Stephanie Sandows ... Tsholo
Sanelisiwe Yekani ... Poet
Sthandile Nkosi ... Manicurist
Ayanda Krengo ... Customer (as Ayanda Ntombikayise Krengo)
Raymond Motadi ... Boy 1
Cwenga Ndaba ... Boy 2
Gontse Phakela ... Boy 3
DJ Slique ... Famous DJ
Rosemary ... Peer Educator
Terrence Mavuso ... Bouncer
Rose Manyame ... Waitress
Mfundo Mavimbela ... Drug Dealer 1 (as Mfundo Innocent Mavimbela)
Mzuvukile Matyhona ... Drug Dealer 2
Kgatliso Raboloa ... Thandi
Nongcebo Mngadi ... Friend 1
Cyndy Diedricks ... Friend 2
Jabulani Mbatha ... Drunk Man
Mbali Malinga ... Reception Nurse
Mvuzo Mthimkhulu ... Surgical Doctor
Emmanuel Matsobane ... Learner 1
Brian Mthembu ... Shift Manager
Marothi Phillip Modiba ... Principal
Molly Motseothata ... Nursing Sister
Buhlebezwe Hlabisa ... Security Guard (as Buhlebezwe Gcinisifiso Hlabisa)
Letlotlo Mohlabeng ... Lemo's Nurse (as Letlotlo Zimkhitha Mohlabeng)
Qiniso Mntambo ... Student
Princess Seloane ... Andile's Daughter
Ofentse Tsimane ... Andile's Son
Gabriella Modjadji ... Pregnant Customer (as Gabriella Modjaji)
Thuli Tsimane ... Zamo's Salon Client
Sinazo Mkhize ... Zamo's Salon Client
Zikhona Mtando ... Zamo's Salon Client
Kwazi Shezi ... Zamo's Salon Client (as Kwazikwenkosi Shezi)
Tshepiso Mokoena ... HIV Counselor
Jaco van Wyk ... Registrar (as Jaco Van Wyk)
Gene Maskill ... Sympathetic Nurse
Grace Bapela ... Q's Granny (as Mothiba Grace Bapela)
Bokang Phelane ... Andile's Wife / Fezeka
Lesego Dube ... Taxi Driver
Lebohang Msiza ... Bad Cop
Nhlakanipho Manqele ... Good Cop
Slindokuhle Nkhoma ... Young Drug Dealer
Pfarelo Lifhiga ... Amahle's Body Double
Mandisa Nduna ... Famous Musician (as Mandisa Nduna aka Ndunaroyal)