The new cast for

Host of es­tab­lished names and new faces in

The Star Early Edition - - LETTERS - KEDIBONE MODISE

THE HIGHLY an­tic­i­pated fifth sea­son of MTV Shuga, filmed in South Africa for the first time, has re­vealed its new cast.

The star-studded line-up for MTV Shuga Down South in­cludes lo­cal hip hop star Kwesta, Nige­rian Afro-pop diva Seyi Shay, as well as a host of es­tab­lished names and new faces.

The se­ries, which is an in­ter­na­tional hit, has courted con­tro­versy in the past for its frank rep­re­sen­ta­tions of sex­ual sub­ject mat­ter.

It has also pro­vided a launch pad for star­dom, with Os­car win­ner Lupita Ny­ong’o hav­ing made her act­ing de­but in this se­ries.

Set par­tially in Braam­fontein, the se­ries will chron­i­cle the lives of young South Africans who are search­ing for their place in the world while fight­ing off temp­ta­tion and so­ci­etal pres­sures.

The Ngud hit­maker Kwesta and Seyi Shay will be mak­ing ap­pear­ances as them­selves in the new se­ries, which pre­mieres on March 8.

“I ba­si­cally cameo on two episodes,” said Kwesta.

“I’m in the stu­dio help­ing a char­ac­ter called Bongi out with a song she’s do­ing, so I pretty much play my­self more than any­thing.”

As a first time ac­tor, Kwesta seems very chuffed about his role in the se­ries.

“I re­ally en­joyed act­ing. I am not much of an ac­tor, but it was re­ally dope. I have a cou­ple of lines, so I’m not just show­ing my face and press­ing but­tons, I am ac­tu­ally act­ing for those two episodes, so I just hope I didn’t do too badly.”

Adding fur­ther star power to the cast are ac­tor and pre­sen­ter Phila Maz­ibuko and child star Given Stu­ur­man – who first made a name for him­self when he starred in a Post­bank ad­ver­tise­ment as a lit­tle boy many years ago.

In the ad, Given tells the fa­ther of a girl he fan­cies that he can’t pay lobola as he’s still young, so he will pro­vide pack­ets of steak to him ev­ery month in­stead.

In Shuga, Stu­ur­man plays a char­ac­ter called Reg­gie – a teenage boy who, he claims, is go­ing to cre­ate quite a stir.

“He is the char­ac­ter that changes a lot of so­cial ideas of what a teenage boy should be and for me, it’s go­ing to shock a lot of peo­ple be­cause Reg­gie is telling a story that has never been told be­fore,” he said.

The cast­ing process for Shuga also gave pre­vi­ously undis­cov­ered tal­ent the chance to prove their met­tle. In an open au­di­tion held in Oc­to­ber last year, the pro­duc­ers de­cided on Samke­lisiwe Makhoba.

She plays the char­ac­ter Khen­sani Chauke, a 15-yearold girl from Soweto.

“I’m new to this thing (act­ing) – I was found at the open au­di­tions, so it’s my first time do­ing this,” she said.

“I was thrown in the deep with this char­ac­ter who ex­pe­ri­ences a roller coaster of emo­tions. I had to just jump in there and do it all at once and it’s been amaz­ing so far, with a lot of learn­ing along the way.”

Makhoba’s quest for star­dom meant a long wait in the queue of hope­fuls, but her per­se­ver­ance paid off.

Ac­cord­ing to Ge­or­gia Arnold, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the MTV Stay­ing Alive Foun­da­tion, the idea to film Shuga in South Africa had been on the radar for a “long time”.

“For me, it’s re­ally ex­cit­ing, be­cause we’ve been plan­ning to get to South Africa for a long time.

“Since we started, we al­ways had this plan to go from Kenya where we dis­cov­ered Lupita Ny­ong’o – it was her very first act­ing se­ries – we feel like we were part of her Os­car win, we take a lit­tle bit of own­er­ship with that,” she said.

“So we moved from there (Kenya), we moved to Nige­ria and we’ve al­ways wanted to come to South Africa and I think one of the things we’ve done (to sig­nal this) is by call­ing MTV Shuga ‘Down South’.

“We’re re­ally sort of giv­ing it a South African la­bel and heart as well, so we can tackle some is­sues that cul­tur­ally we may not have dis­cussed in Kenya or Nige­ria,” she added.

I pretty much play my­self more than any­thing

HIT­MAKER: Kwesta ap­pears as him­self in the new se­ries.

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