‘MTV Shuga: In Real Life’ . . . wins best youth programme at SAFTA 2018

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Sharon Kavhu

Africa’s most viewed youth-focused series, ‘mtv Shuga: In Real Life (irl)’ was awarded the Best Youth Programme and tv/Non-Fiction during the 12th edition of South African Film and Television Awards (saftas) at Sun City, South Africa, last week.   

In a media statement, executive director of MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Georgia Arnold, said she was excited about MTV Shuga’s achievement.

MTV Staying Alive Foundation is the proprietor of the ‘MTV Shuga: IRL’ youth-focused series.

The award comes soon after the premiere of the series’ Season 6 ‘MTV Shuga Naija’ at Multichoice’s DStv Cinema in Randburg. The series features a powerful story and a stellar cast from both Nigeria and MTV Shuga Down South.

‘MTV Shuga IRL’ seems to be making strides continentally and directors of the series attribute the success of the project to its aspect of reality. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled that ‘MTV Shuga: In Real Life’ has won the SAFTA for Best Youth Programme 2018. ‘MTV Shuga IRL’ is a testament to the complexities of young people’s day-to-day lives, and as the programme leads us through the three stories, it allows space for the audience to reflect, rather than judge. And, as always with all ‘MTV Shuga’ content, there is a clear link at the end to real-life support and advice for anyone who needs it.

“Importantly, the funding of the series through our partners is what ensures we are able to expand and make a positive impact in society,” said Arnold.

According to the vice president for Youth, Music and BET at Viacom International Media Networks Africa, Monde Twala, ‘MTV Shuga’ is strengthened by South Africa’s storytelling by its native people.

“It’s the strength of local storytelling by local talent and the innate understanding of our audience that has ensured that ‘MTV Shuga’ and the complementary shows like ‘MTV Shuga IRL’ continues to expand its Pan-African and global fan base,” said Twala in a statement.

MTV Shuga’s show director, Tarryn Crossman, said the TV show was made stronger by making it a reality.

“In order to produce this show, we asked young people going through hard real-life truths to trust us with their stories and they did, which is what made ‘MTV Shuga: In Real Life’ such a powerful show.  I love that the MTV Staying Alive Foundation boldly embraces these real issues,” said Crossman.

The ‘MTV Shuga’ TV drama is part of a broad-based mass media campaign focused on HIV prevention and sexual reproductive health. 

As part of the wider campaign, a documentary called ‘MTV Shuga: In Real Life’ was also produced. The documentary looks at the real-life stories behind the fictional drama of ‘MTV Shuga’. 

The audience is guided throughout the documentary by various cast members from ‘MTV Shuga’. The show has proved to be impactful across the African continent because it tells the truth about the realities of young people’s experience.

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