Shuga hits the townships of Cape Town
This week, Team Shuga hit Cape Town for the South African premiere of Shuga. Just like our Lagos and London audiences, we had a bunch of very excited people on our hands. But this week’s event was a little different.
After landing in Cape Town, we travelled over 20 miles out of the city centre to Eerste River to meet a community whose lives have been impacted by Shuga in extra-special ways thanks to our friends at University of the Western Cape.
Led by Professor Jim Lees, the University equips the students to use Shuga in their communities to drive vital HIV-prevention messaging, encourage conversation around sexual health among families, and tackle the stigma associated with people living with HIV.
The night began with a powerful tribute to Mandela, where hundreds of people gathered in the community hall united in song and prayer. As images of Madiba smiled over us from the community hall screen, MTV Base’s Sizwe Dhlomo took to the stage to begin the very special night. With Emmanuel Ikubese (who plays Femi in Shuga) watching from the audience, Sizwe introduced us to three members of the Eerste River community: Ashton, Alice, and Nokuthula.
Ashton told us how he has used Shuga with his friends and family, followed by an emotional Alice who said that Shuga has allowed her to talk openly with her family and children in ways she’s never been able to before. Nokuthula had even been using Shuga in the local prison to educate the inmates.
Before the screening started, we also heard from some of our biggest supporters, Mark Dybul from the Global Fund and James Maloney from the US government, both of whom pledged their continued support as the Shuga brand builds.
Finally, our very own Georgia Arnold took to the stage for the moment the audience had all been waiting for—Shuga Naija. Gasping at the drama of the Femi-Ekene fight, hissing as Solomon infamously reaches for his ARVs (antiretrovirals), and laughing as Sophie tries (and fails) to flirt her way to study success, the only part the Eerste River community weren’t entertained by were the rolling credits of episode two marking the end of the night.
Before the community joined together again in song and prayer, Nonkosinathi Novukela stood before the Eerste River community to remind the 500-strong audience that as a young, beautiful woman who just happens to be living with HIV, she has nothing whatsoever to be ashamed of.
Here at the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and Shuga HQ, we’re proud and grateful to those who take our work and use it to its full and far-reaching potential. This event was a reminder of why we do what we do.
What do you think of Shuga series 3 so far?