Tsha Tsha is a South African educational youth drama series produced by Curious Pictures and CADRE (Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation) which follows the lives of young people in the fictional rural Eastern Cape town of Lubusi, as they negotiate the big issues of life – love, sex and relationships.
It is broadcast in Xhosa, with English subtitles.
The series originally aired in South Africa on SABC1 from 11 April 2003 to 27 October 2006. There are 78 half-hour episodes in four seasons. See "Seasons" below for seasonal broadcast dates and times.
Season 4 originally aired on SABC1 from 5 May to 27 October, 2006, on Fridays at 20h30. New episodes broadcast weekly. There are 26 episodes in the fourth and final season.
The fourth season features a number of changes and new faces.
Boniswa and Joy have left for Johannesburg to study there and live with Musa. The end of the last season saw Viwe finally agreeing to marry Andile, and DJ admitting his feelings for Chuma, and then finding out that she felt the same way.
We left them as they drove off to Johannesburg in their ntofontofo...
But while the four young people that took us on such an emotional journey in the first three seasons have left, there are still many familiar faces back in Lubusi.
Unathi, Andile's sister, is back at Satisfaction as the cook. She survived the rape and assault by Cedric, and learnt how to look after herself and let others help her.
Unathi and Nobuntu are friends who look out for each other's safety and well-being. Nobuntu is now 6 months pregnant and has to find ways of dealing with all the pressures her fast track into adulthood throws in her way.
With her younger brothers, Loyiso and Zolile, she has to find ways to survive.
Vincent and Lazola are now living alone behind the funeral parlour, and struggling a little to look after themselves as Mrs Sibaya found the strength to leave her emotionally abusive husband, Vincent, in the previous season.
Mike and Sis Wawi have to cope with Cedric's rape of Unathi and that he is now in jail for a very long time. Mike has to take over the taxi business and realises what a good job DJ did running the Satisfaction now that he is gone.
Lwazi also returns to Lubusi for a visit, with the promise of a bright future now that he has completed his engineering degree and has a good job.
Tyson, Rasta and the other members of the support group are still finding that coming together around a common set of problems and talking about it can really help.
But there is always something new in Lubusi...
Mrs K's dance class was always a place where young people could get together and discover how dance allows understanding and insight into many important lessons in life. It was a place where one could forget everything else as the music began.
The town is plunged into gloom as a popular and respected character dies. There are also difficult and unanswered questions as to how and why this character dies.
But the town is also caught up in the excitement of a new development, the Aloe Cultural Centre. This cultural centre is co-funded by the government and a consortium of investors from Lubusi; Vincent, Mike and Mimi amongst them. The charming and charismatic town manager, Mthunzi, is managing the development.
There is the promise of employment and opportunity, but questions soon start being asked as things do not run as smoothly as they should.
Coming across as an intelligent, socially-responsible civil-servant, Mthunzi is a ruthless individual who sees his position only as a means to his own self-enrichment. Having grown up in Lubusi, Mthunzi is well-educated, and has been active in politics to secure his post.
An incredibly slick and smooth operator, no-one spots his ulterior motives until it is too late.
New faces bring excitement and scandal to the town. A hip, attractive newcomer from Jo'burg, the new Pastor in town is quite a shock to Lubusi. His progressive and unconventional approach to the ministry shakes and unsettles the town, causing quite a stir.
He makes it his mission to seek out those who are in need of support and galvanizes the community to take action to provide support to each other.
And his good looks, youth, and charisma have the younger women of Lubusi coming to church in droves.
He also harbours a secret from his past.
Zukiswa is a beautiful, sexy but tomboyish young woman who originally comes from Lubusi, but has spent the past few years working in a car factory in P.E. A total car buff, she's tough, no-nonsense, and has learnt how to hold her own in a tough business.
Raised by her mother in a nearby village, Zukiswa has never known who her father is. She has suffered her mother's alcoholism from early childhood, taking care of her without complaint. Her behaviour also causes quite a stir in a small town like Lubusi.
There is murder and mayhem, protest and intrigue. Sometimes the most unlikely characters have dark secrets and nothing happens to just one person in a place like Lubusi. Every event, whether happy or tragic, impacts on the whole community.
Tsha Tsha was produced for SABC Education by the Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE) and Curious Pictures. It was funded by USAID through Johns Hopkins University Health Communications Partnership, which also provided funding support for research on the series.
Harriet Gavshon and David Jammy from Curious Pictures and Warren Parker from CADRE were the Executive Producers of Tsha Tsha.
All the principal actors grew up in the Eastern Cape and are familiar with the language and texture of a small town. Producer Lumko Dukashe and many of the crew are also from the Eastern Cape, and kept a watching brief on authenticity and the use of language.
Tsha Tsha had numerous directors, including Tim Greene, Shaft Moropane, Rolie Nikiwe and Catherine Stewart. Director of Photography on Tsha Tsha was Mike Downie.
Series exclusive to SABC1. Rebroadcast dates included.
Season 1 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 11 April 2003 | Finale: 4 July 2003 | Fridays, 20h30
Premiere: 2 September 2003 | Finale: 25 November 2003 | Tuesdays, 20h30
Season 2 (13 episodes)
Premiere: 9 January 2004 | Finale: 2 April 2004 | Fridays, 20h30
Premiere: 5 May 2008 | Finale: 28 July 2008 | Mondays, 20h30
Season 3 (26 episodes)
Premiere: 20 October 2004 | Finale: 13 April 2005 | Wednesdays, 20h30
Season 4 (26 episodes)
Premiere: 5 May 2006 | Finale: 27 October 2006 | Fridays, 20h30