Emmy nominee Thuso Mbedu. Picture: Supplied

The second edition of MTV Shuga: Down South is ready to hit the screens.

With an all-star line-up that includes the two-time Emmy-nominated Thuso Mbedu, Given Stuurman, Lerato Walaza and Ayanda Makayi, this season will follow the lives of the characters as they graduate from high school to meet new challenges.

The Shuga franchise started with the Kenyan series starring 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 Nairobi. There, and through the experiences of her friends around her, they explore their sexuality and everyday lives, while trying to build their dreams. The series then moves on to Nigeria with an interlinking character, Femi, played by Emmanuel Ikubese.

The fifth series moves to South Africa where the Down South crew are introduced to the MTV family.

Makayi, who plays the role of Solomzi "Sol", is introduced to viewers as the son of taxi owner Bra Muzi. His character is a bit of a show-off and quite the villain.

Makayi returns again for Series 7, the second Down South edition.

For people who haven't watched the franchise, Makayi explains it's a story for the youth, by the youth.

“It's an edutainment drama, and the youth talk about the issues they deal with each and every day. It educates them on how to tackle HIV/Aids, abortion, teenage pregnancy, contraceptives, gender-based violence and even toxic masculinity. These are issues we deal with every day. This show is the perfect way to tell the narrative in an entertaining way, as that is what the youth are searching for.”

MTV Shuga Series 6 took place in Nigeria before coming back to Mzansi for the seventh instalment.

“The story has always had a thread, from season one. It’s a bonus to watch all of them, but Down South is a world on its own. The issues tackled are ones that are relevant. Each season takes on what is happening at that time. More than anything, it boils down to what issues resonate with you and what you are going through,” said Makayi.

Of his character’s bad ways, Makayi said viewers would get to see the back story and get to understand him more through his family.

“As the villain of the show I've learnt that each person has a story and their own issues, whether good or bad. Their issues also matter, and we need to focus on that instead of trying to rehabilitate and fix the action. We need to find the core of where the action comes from and how the person has been influenced to get to that point.”

Joining the cast this season is Mohale Motaung, who will take on the role of the openly-gay Odirile.

“As an openly-gay man I’m fortunate to have the support of my family and my fiancé, Somizi, but not all South African youth, especially those growing up in conservative and traditional households, experience the same level of acceptance. That’s why programmes like MTV Shuga play such a crucial role in informing the youth and helping them realise they are not alone,” said Motaung.

The world premiere of the series took place last night at Montecasino.

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