Johannesburg, 11 May 2023 – MTV Shuga Down South also known as MTV Shuga, an MTV Staying Alive Foundation (SAF) initiative, is back with a 10-part, brand-spanking new third season, premiering on 25 June 2023. This season is set to spark some serious conversation by showcasing compelling storylines delivered by a sensational and diverse cast and a culturally relevant musical score with guest appearances from some of South Africa’s most talented musicians.

The multi-award-winning series which has captivated audiences will tackle important social issues such as HIV prevention (oral PrEP, Dapivirine Vaginal Ring (DVR) and Long-Acting Injectable Cabotegravir or CAB-LA), HIV Self Testing, treatment adherence, sexually transmitted infections, Tuberculosis (TB), substance abuse, self-care, mental health, gender-based violence and various issues involving the LGBTQI+ community, amongst others.

The new season features familiar faces, including Ayanda Makayi who plays the controversial character Sol, and Dee Rasedile who plays Thuli. In true MTV Shuga style, viewers will be treated to fresh faces unearthed from an open call to the public auditions end of last year.

Introducing the new cast:

  • Zazi Kunene as Nono (Lady Groove), a bubbly, up-and-coming Amapiano DJ on the rise, who seems to stop at nothing to become the next best thing in Mzansi.


  • Ziya Xulu as Warona, a shy, queer teenager who loves music and is a good dancer struggling with weight issues and the death of a close friend.


  • Tyson Mathonsi as Sandile (Snacks), a rich-kid hustler and manipulative flirt.


  • Ayakha Ntunja as Thembi, a feisty attention-seeking go-getter who is the star of her school’s drum majorette team and a popular girl who finds herself growing up much faster than expected.


  • Ayanda Nzimande as Kedibone, a young queer girl who is very loving and supportive of those around her.


  • Lobisa Tsatsi as Azania, a young woman who is living with HIV, and is on a mission to document positive social media content to break the stereotypes around it. She’s also attempting to build a life and family with her HIV-negative high school sweetheart Victor.


  • Alex Aduka as Victor, a hardworking good guy with a big heart. Living in the inner city of Johannesburg as a foreign national presents its fair share of challenges for Victor as he battles a 2-year unemployment spell.


  • Palesa Mothopi as Vuvu, a quick-witted teen who hides her sense of displacement and the general feeling of lack of belonging by bullying and humiliating her peers who are all petrified of her.


  • Chidera Nwoha as Khenzo, a social recluse with a creative fashion flair, well-loved by his teachers but battling an addiction to Lean (a cough syrup mixture and antiretrovirals cocktail drug).


  • Naret Loots as Emma, a fun-loving girl who can dance and has immersed herself in black popular culture, and a friend of Nono’s from primary school.

Seasoned actors Nimrod Nkosi (plays Blessing), Seiphemo Motswiri (plays Robert Mosimane), Thuli Thabethe (plays Nomazizi Mkhize), Josias Moleele (plays Coach Sono), Lerato Mvelase (plays Mam’ Grace), and Leera Mthethwa (plays Nurse Keitu) also join the series as new cast members for the third season.

“We’re excited to introduce the new cast for MTV Shuga Down South 3. Their talent and passion for storytelling brings fresh energy to the multi-award-winning TV series that addresses important social issues experienced by young Africans as they navigate their way through adolescence and young adulthood. We can’t wait for viewers to see them in action” said Tshireletso Yvonne Diogo, Country Director of MTV Staying Alive Foundation.

“We’re thrilled to bring back MTV Shuga Down South for another season. The series has been a powerful voice for young people on the African continent and has tackled some of our society’s most pressing issues. This series is a vital part of Paramount Africa’s approach to storytelling as it keeps us true to our mission of telling authentic African stories as well as providing platforms for growth, inclusivity, identity ownership, and mirror reflective authenticity. In this light, we’re delighted to be working with an all-black-female team of Directors from the leading South African production company Burnt Onion, and to have given 16 young people an opportunity to participate in the production of the series through our internship programme” said Monde Twala, Senior Vice President, General Manager and Lead, BET International.

Through captivating storytelling and engaging characters, the show provides a platform to raise awareness and promote positive behavioural change. Known for its hard-hitting storylines, viewers can expect nothing less than a bold and innovative approach to Season 3 with powerful performances from the cast.

MTV Shuga proudly boasts its funding from two important organisations. Global health agency Unitaid continues its long-standing support of MTV Shuga as part of a broader commitment to ensure young people across Africa are informed about their health and aware of the options available to them.

Backing also comes from the Anglo American Foundation, with its commitment to sustainable development. The funding from both entities will ensure that MTV Shuga Down South Season 3 continues to shed light on critical topics affecting young people across the African continent.

#MTVShugaDS3 will premiere on 27 June 2023 on BET (DStv channel 129) at 21:00 CAT and 20:00 WAT, with repeats on Sundays at 21:40 CAT. It will also be available to stream on YouTube. Follow the conversation on social media; Twitter, Facebook and Tik Tok: @mtvshugadownsouth.


The MTV Staying Alive Foundation aims to harness the power of entertainment to change the attitudes and behaviour of young people around the world. The campaign includes a radio drama, print, digital and social media, and peer education programmes. It has been broadcast on over 180 channels in 70 countries and has reached over 720 million households.

Pioneered in Nairobi, Kenya, in 2009, MTV Shuga is a long-running drama series and multimedia campaign that follows the lives of young people on the African continent. Aired on Paramount international channels around the world, the content is also offered rights-free to 3rd party broadcasters and content platforms and used as a teaching aid by educators, healthcare workers and grassroots organizations around the world.

Since 2009, the drama has crossed the continent from Kenya to Nigeria, South Africa, Cote d’Ivoire and India and has touched on numerous plotlines relating to HIV testing & prevention, Covid-19, family planning & contraception, transactional sex, gender-based violence, and condom use.

Multimedia entertainment powerhouse Paramount, offers the most comprehensive international broadcast portfolio on the African continent, reaching more than 100 million viewers across 48 territories in Africa. Paramount currently comprises 10 separate TV channels and 5 consumer websites, as well as multiple mobile and social media sites. The company’s African business interests include content production and distribution; spot sales, 360-degree sponsorships, events, mobile, digital and consumer products.

Unitaid is a global health agency engaged in finding innovative solutions to prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases more quickly, cheaply, and effectively, in low- and middle-income countries. Its work includes funding initiatives to address major diseases such as HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis, as well as HIV co-infections and co-morbidities including advanced HIV disease, cervical cancer, and hepatitis C, and cross-cutting areas, such as fever management. Unitaid is now applying its expertise to address challenges in advancing new therapies and diagnostics for the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a key member of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, co-leading the Therapeutics Pillar with Wellcome and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and participating in the Diagnostics Pillar. Unitaid is hosted by the World Health Organization.

Anglo American is a leading global mining company and our products are the essential ingredients in almost every aspect of modern life. Our portfolio of world-class competitive operations, with a broad range of future development options, provides many of the future-enabling metals and minerals for a cleaner, greener, more sustainable world and that meet the fast growing every day demands of billions of consumers. With our people at the heart of our business, we use innovative practices and the latest technologies to discover new resources and to mine, process, move and market our products to our customers – safely and sustainably.

As a responsible producer of diamonds (through De Beers), copper, platinum group metals, premium quality iron ore and steelmaking coal, and nickel – with crop nutrients in development – we are committed to being carbon neutral across our operations by 2040. More broadly, our Sustainable Mining Plan commits us to a series of stretching goals to ensure we work towards a healthy environment, creating thriving communities and building trust as a corporate leader. We work together with our business partners and diverse stakeholders to unlock enduring value from precious natural resources for the benefit of the communities and countries in which we operate, for society as a whole, and for our shareholders. Anglo American is re-imagining mining to improve people’s lives.

The Anglo American Foundation, a rapidly expanding corporate foundation in the field of long term socio-economic development. It is focused on accelerating progress towards the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs), placing a particular importance on programmes that empower women, youth and vulnerable groups.

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