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Sea­son 4 SABC1 (*191) 20:30

MTV Net­works Africa’s “soapie” Shuga (2009-cur­rent) has proven pop­u­lar with view­ers across Africa – and it’s made its way across the con­ti­nent too, start­ing off sea­son 1 and 2 (2009 and 2011) in Kenya be­fore mov­ing to Nige­ria for sea­son 3 (2013). With six-episode sea­son 4 (2015) start­ing tonight on free-TV, here are a cou­ple of things to know…

The drama’s main theme is HIV/ 1

Aids and how to stay healthy and pre­vent the spread of the disease – and it’s had an im­pact! Ac­cord­ing to an in­de­pen­dent study re­leased in June this year, fans of the show were 35% more likely to get tested ev­ery six months for HIV and they say that “Shuga has taught us a lot about HIV and other dis­eases”.

The show won the gold award 2

for Edu­tain­ment & In­ter­me­dia at the World Me­dia Fes­ti­val in May 2016 thanks to its view­er­ship: it’s broad­cast in over 88 coun­tries around the world with an es­ti­mated 550 mil­lion view­ers.

Sea­son 1’s main char­ac­ters Ayira 3

and Felix may look fa­mil­iar. Ayira was played by 33-year-old Kenyan star Lupita Ny­ong’o (from 2013 drama film 12 Years A Slave) and Felix was played by Tu­misho Masha (most re­cently as Scan­dal!’s Hec­tor in June). “Shuga is try­ing to talk about how HIV and Aids is not a death sen­tence,” says Lupita.

The cast and crew get tested for 4 HIV/Aids at the end of each sea­son. Sea­son 5 is go­ing to be filmed in 5

South Africa later this year, with lo­cal ac­tress Mo­hau Mokoa­tle-Cele play­ing “well grounded” 16-year-old Bongi. She adds that “I love that you get to en­joy it and the mes­sage it car­ries is pow­er­ful and im­por­tant”.

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