For the first time in South Africa the AMAZE sex and reproductive health education online series has gone live.

AMAZE is an online animated video series for 10 to 14 year olds that tackles the tough questions young people have about their changing bodies, sexuality, healthy relationships and behaviour. 

The highly successful series originated in the US, and now a portion has been adapted for a South African audience including translation into Xhosa and Afrikaans and new locally relevant characters and topics.

AMAZE’s local partner is Marie Stopes South Africa who, through a grant from the Westwind Foundation has worked to localise and distribute the content in South Africa. Marie Stopes operates a national network of sexual and reproductive health centres and see first-hand the need for more vibrant, relatable sex education that impacts young people as early as possible.

Whitney Chinogwenya, Brand and Communications Manager for Marie Stopes says, “The South African AMAZE series hopes to be a resource for 10 – 14 year olds to help them navigate their adolescence with accurate, age appropriate information about sexuality that’s presented in an educating and entertaining way.”

Under the tagline #MoreInfoLessWeird the series also aims to help parents and guardians discuss these issues with the young people in their lives openly and honestly. “The series creates the opportunity for fun, youth-friendly tools to help start these conversations earlier, with tweens and teens, in a way that resonates with their everyday experiences,” Chinogwenya says.

The 11-part series will roll out over November and into December.

The first two episodes are live, with the third episode, 'Healthy Relationships'scheduled to go live on 13 November.

The series can be viewed by tweens or teens directly on their devices or shared with them by care-givers and teachers who can use the videos to facilitate broader conversations about what healthy sexuality and relationships look like.

The episodes deal with the following themes: Gender Identity, Consent, Girls’ Puberty, Healthy Relationships, HIV/Aids, Peer Pressure, Sexual Orientation, STIs, Boys’ Puberty, Bullying and Contraception and Protection.

The AMAZE videos are 2 – 3 minutes long and for maximum online accessibility they will be available on www.amaze.org.za as well as YouTube and social media.  

Watch the first episode titled 'Sexual Orientation' below:

Episode synopsis: A person’s sexual orientation is determined by the gender(s) of the people that person is romantically and sexually attracted to. Many people may first become aware of their sexual orientation during puberty. Hormonal changes associated with puberty can trigger new feelings of romantic or sexual attraction. This can be confusing and even a bit scary for many tweens and teens. These romantic and sexual feelings are often intense and not necessarily directed toward particular types of people. Sexual feelings for some may be provoked without cause during puberty. This can confuse tweens and teens as they begin to question their own and others’ sexual orientation. It is essential to help young people understand that it may take time to understand what gender(s) they find romantically or sexually attractive. It is also important to reiterate that there are no right or wrong answers and only they can determine their sexual orientation. As they get older, they will be better able to figure out who they find attractive.

You can also follow AMAZE South Africa’s social media platforms FacebookInstagram and YouTube. The supporting hashtag is #MoreInfoLessWeird