Jemima Osunde. Picture: Sunmisola

If you still haven't caught wind of the MTV Shuga series, you are definitely living under a rock. 

The first series starred Lupita Nyong’o, who has since shot to Hollywood stardom. 

She played the role of Ayira, a young woman trying to get into the biggest advertising agency in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. 

Through the three episode series we see Ayira, her friends and acquaintances exploring their sexuality and everyday lives, while trying to build their dreams.

In the second season, the series continues in Kenya and takes off where the first season left off, exploring HIV/Aids in the community and taking on issues of sexual harassment, relationships and rape. 

In the third series, the show moves to Lagos, Nigeria, with a key character from Series two, Femi, played by Emmanuel Ikubese. 

There we are introduced to a range of characters who are linked together somehow.The show focuses on broken dreams, secrets and lies. 

Series four continues the Nigerian leg of the series, which then leads to Series five where the show again anchors in from Femi, who works in Joburg as a club manager. Other characters from previous seasons are intertwined in the series as well. 

For series six, the show returns to Nigeria.

L​agos born actress Jemima Osunde returns as Leila. She started off as a fan of the show from the first season with Nyong’o. 

“When I heard it was coming to Nigeria for season three, I was very interested in auditioning for the show. I eventually auditioned for season four and got the part of Leila.

“Leila was a young, pretty and naïve girl who falls head over heels in love…”


She said she wanted to be part of MTV Shuga, because the show discusses topics and things she is faced with daily.

“Through my peers and my work as a medical student at the University of Lagos and at work, I am constantly faced with patients who have HIV/Aids, who speak on topics related to the show and MTV Shuga. 

“Being in this show means I get to address this issue both on TV and in my work as a student in physiotherapy at the College of Medicine in Lagos.”

For this season, Osunde said fans would see a different Leila, as she was nothing like the series four character.

“She is not the same naïve, sweet and girl next door Leila they met in season four, she was the secondary school girl and still faced with crushes. 
“But now Leila is grown up and not the girl next door. She is more independent and open minded. 

“People shouldn’t expect the same Leila from season four because if they do, they are in for a surprise.”

Osunde said her role on MTV Shuga was her most successful to date, having aired on every continent, except Antarctica. 
It was also the first where she had to be intimate with a fellow actor. 

She said the series was an important one for Africa, because it showed people what was happening in society. 

She has since starred in the movies Fifty, Isoken, My Wife and I, and Rumour Has It. 

Osunde said MTV Shuga was an important show to have in Africa, because it discusses vital topics that affect the youth and families of the continent.
“Some families shy away from talking to their children and teens about certain topics… like the sex talk due to cultural, religious and traditional differences and beliefs. These tend to restrict conversations between parents and their children. 

“But MTV Shuga is serving a purpose by sharing different avenues and platforms on how parents can tackle these discussions with their children.”
Osunde described MTV as an amazing platform. “It gives you mileage as an artist and the Shuga series has a good message.” 

* MTV Shuga airs on MTV Base DStv channel 322 on Wednesdays at 9.30pm. 


The Star