Thuso Mbedu. Picture:Twitter

The MTV Stay Alive Foundation and MTV Base will be airing a 12-part drama series aimed at spreading awareness and tackling issues faced by South African youth.

“Previous seasons of MTV Shuga have been proven to change young people’s behaviour and attitudes relating to safe sex and HIV,” said the executive director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Georgia Arnold, speaking at the pre-screening of MTV Shuga at Montecasino in Fourways on Tuesday night.

“Moved to a South African setting and context for the first time, we know that MTV Shuga: Down South will make further strides in changing attitudes to unplanned pregnancies, LGBT awareness, and other health and emotional issues among South African youth.”

Set in the homes, cafés, schools, parks and hangouts of fictional township Zenzele and real-life Braamfontein, MTV Shuga: Down South is the fifth instalment in the award-winning drama series.

With powerful contemporary story lines, relatable characters and an ensemble cast of talented actors and contemporary musicians, it uses drama to disseminate important public health messages.

The new series, directed by Mmabatho Montsho, Thabang Moleya and Rea Rangaka, focuses on issues faced by adolescent girls in South Africa, with a particular emphasis on their vulnerability to unintended pregnancy and HIV.

Viewers will journey into the lives of young South Africans with interweaving stories of heartbreak, love, betrayal and difficult decisions among contemporary South African youth.

Executive vice-president and managing director, Viacom International Media Networks Africa, Alex Okosi, said: “Pro-social programming that empowers our audience is an important part of our MTV Base brand.

“MTV Shuga deals with issues facing young people through authentic story lines and characters, and we are excited to premiere this latest series, based in South Africa.”