Shuga (TV series)

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MTV Shuga
Shuga Logo.png
Shuga Naija title screen
GenreDrama series
Written byAmanda Lane (Head Writer) (Season 1; Season 2)
Kemi Adesoye (Head Writer) (Season 3; Season 8)
Tunde Aladese, Nkiru Njoku
Directed byTeboho Mahlatsi (Season 1 - 2)
Angus Gibson, John Trengrove (Season 2)
Biyi Bandele (Season 3)
Tope Oshin, Tolulope Ajayi, Ishaya Bako (Season 6)
Tope Oshin, Daniel Ademinokan, Tolulope Ajayi (Season 8)
Creative directorsTim Horwood (Season 1 - 2)
Tope Oshin, Jane Arnell (Season 3 - 4)
Tope Oshin (Season 8)
StarringLupita Nyong'o
Tiwa Savage
Ikubese Emmanuel
Okezie Morro
Maria Okanrende
Dorcas Shola Fapson
Sharon Olago
Antony Mwangi
Edward Nyanaro
Nick Mutuma
Avril Nyambura
Nancy Karanja
Samke Makhoba
Richard Mofe Damijo
Ruby Akubueze
Osas Ighodaro
Adebukola Oladipupo
Timini Egbuson
Funlola Aofiyebi Moses Akerele
Theme music composerDavid Campos, Philip Miller (Season 1 - 2)
Warrick Sony (Season 1)
Nic Patton, Hibou Music (Season 2)
Ben Onono, Rhys Adams (Season 3)
ComposerDaniel Ademinokan (Season 8)
Country of originKenya (Seasons 1 - 2)
Nigeria (Seasons 3, 4, 6, 8)
South Africa (Season 5, 7)
Original languagesEnglish
No. of seasons8
No. of episodes57
Executive producersGeorgia Arnold (Season 1 - 8)
Cathy N. Phiri (Season 1 - 2)
Sara Piot, Richard Warburton (Season 3)
ProducersDesiree Markgraaff (Season 1 - 2)
Jonathan Curling (Season 3)
Chris Ihidero (Season 4, 6)
Tope Oshin, Bose Oshin (Season 8)
Production locationsKenya (Season 1 - 2)
Nigeria (Season 3)
CinematographyZeno Petersen (Season 1 - 2)
Hein de Vos (Season 3)
Yinka Edward (Season 6, 8)
EditorsCarl Morgan (Season 1)
Jeremy Briers (Season 2)
Matthew Bate (Season 3)
Camera setupAdekunle Nodash Adejuyigbe (Season 3, 8)
Daniel Ademinokan (Season 8)
Running time~30 minutes
Production companiesThe Bomb Shelter (Season 1 - 2)
MTV Staying Alive Foundation Production (Season 3)
SmatMedia (Season 6)
Sunbow Productions (Season 8)
DistributorViacom International Media Networks (Season 3)
Original networkMTV
Original releaseNovember 2009 (2009-11)
External links
MTV Shuga
Production website

Shuga, also known as MTV Shuga, is a television drama series that was first aired in November 2009 on MTV Base as part of an initiative dubbed "MTV Staying Alive Ignite!". Its first two seasons were commissioned by MTV Networks Africa in association with The MTV Staying Alive Foundation, PEPFAR, the Partnership for an HIV-Free Generation (HFG) and the Government of Kenya, as part of a multimedia campaign to spread the message about responsible sexual behaviour and tolerance.

The film later became a hit and was aired in 40 different African countries before it was aired internationally in over 70 television stations.[1] The drama was thought to be a very controversial series by the senior generation of Kenyans because it contained some scenes that contained sexually explicit content.[2] It received a Gold award in May 2010 at the World Media Festival in Hamburg, Germany in the Public Relations Health category for its focus on love, emotions, and sexual behavior amongst Kenyan youth.[3]

In 2013, production of the series was moved to Nigeria, where the third and subsequent seasons are set. Dubbed "Shuga Naija",[4] the new version is a multimedia campaign which educates youths on HIV, safe sex and teen pregnancy.[5]

Shuga also touches on maternal and child health, family planning, gender-based violence, and women empowerment.[6][7] It was produced in partnership with Nigeria's "National Agency for the Control of AIDS" (NACA).[8][9] Season 3 of the series was broadcast via 88 television stations across the world, with estimated household viewers of over 550 million.[10]


Season 1 (2009)[edit]

Season one comprised three episodes that followed the lives and love of a group of young students whose bright lives and fabulous future were balanced on a knife edge due to their love of risk and danger. This season told the story of a modern girl Ayira (Lupita Nyong'o) who knew what she wanted and how to get it. She developed passion with an older man at the expense of a longtime lover Ty. This season also highlighted the life of other two lovers Virginia and Leo who had various obstacles in their relationships but they were determined to make it work.[11] This season also featured cameo appearances from Madtraxx, P-Unit, Nonini, Nameless, Juliani, Jimmy Gate and Dj Adrian.[12]

Season 2 (2011)[edit]

Principal photography for the series took place in Kenya (Nairobi and Malindi)[13] in August – September 2011. The title song for “Shuga: Love, Sex, Money” debuted on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322) on Saint Valentine's Day in 2012.[14] Other artists that featured in the soundtrack included Camp Mulla, Flavour, P-Square, Wyre, Madtraxx, J Martins, and Stella Mwangi. Season two premiered on 10 February 2012[15] at the Kenya National Museums.[16] This season comprised six episodes which were followed by a one-hour synopsis episode. It was aired in Africa weekly on MTV Base (DStv Channel 322) from Tuesday 14 February 2012 at 21:30 CAT (20:30 WAT/22:30 EAT) and on other terrestrial broadcasters. The storylines in this season are rape, transactional sex and homosexuality plus a bunch of other issues to be explored included HIV testing, stigma, condom use, gender inequity and the role of multiple partnerships in driving the HIV epidemic.[17] This season also planned some gay scenes that were meant to tackle the HIV/AIDs spread among the gay people. According to Georgia Arnold the executive producer of the drama series, the actual plan had to be pulled back to avoid controversy since it was a delicate matter in Kenya.[18]

Season 3 (2013)[edit]

The third season of the series, dubbed Shuga Naija, was shot and set in Nigeria, produced in partnership with the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA).[8] It is directed by Biyi Bandele and stars Tiwa Savage, Chris Attoh, Maria Okanrende, Emmanuel Ikubese, Sharon Ezeamaka, Efa Iwara, Olumide Oworu, Dorcas Shola Fapson, Rahama Sadau, Okezie Morro, Timini Egbuson, Kachi Nnochiri, Sanni Mu'azu and Leonora Okine.[19] Shuga Naija tells the story of several Lagos youths and how they deal with love, sex and relationships.

It was announced in June 2013 that new seasons of Shuga would be produced in Nigeria[9] At the unveiling event,[20] it was stated that the new series will have a whole new look; with predominantly Nigerian cast and crew.[4][5] Speaking on the transition, Alex Okosi, the Managing Director of Viacom International Media Networks Africa says producing the project in Nigeria will help the realization of the series due to Nigeria's flourishing entertainment industry.[9] According to Business Day; "When it is a Nollywood production, it tends to get more recognition and embrace for people, both locally and internationally".[5] Principal photography commenced in August, mainly in Lagos.[9]

The third season of Shuga [Shuga Naija] premiered on 26 November 2013 at the Silverbird Cinema, Victoria Island, Lagos,[21] and was generally positively received by the audience.[22][23]

Season 4 (2015)[edit]

The fourth season of Shuga was filming in Nigeria, in early 2015.[10] Prior to its release, a nationwide HIV campaign tagged "MTV Shuga on Tour" was held in March 2015, in partnership with the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The campaign involved a peer to peer education drive seeking to change the attitude of Nigerian youth towards public health issues. Shuga 4 focused on themes involving adolescent girls, stigma, prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT), HIV testing, gender based violence, first sex and the disclosure of HIV status.[24][25]

Season 5 (2017)[edit]

The fifth season was called "Shuga: Down South" and it was based in South Africa. It premiered on March 17, 2017. It was set in the cool clubs, hangouts and schools of Johannesburg’s Braamfontein, and the township of “Zenzele”. Starring Vanessa Mdee, Samke Makhoba, Nick Mutuma, Given Stuurman, Mohau Cele, Lerato Walaza and Emmanuel Ikubese, with cameo performances from Seyi Shay and Kwesta. The seasons themes included abusive relationships, sexual assault, back alley abortions, and "blessers" in addition to continuing the conversation about HIV. This was one of the darkest seasons of Shuga as it featured the death of a character.[26]

Season 6 (2018)[edit]

The sixth series of Shuga returned to Nigeria and premiered on March 7, 2018. Set against the backdrop of a bustling Lagos metropolis, where we see the northern and southern communities blended together. In this new season we meet a host of new characters dealing with coming of age drama. Friendships are tested, relationships reach risky heights, and secrets threaten to break family ties. Starring: Timini Egubson reprising his role from previous seasons as Toby. Sharon Ezeamaka, Jemima Osunde, Rahama Sadau, Adebukola Oladipupo, Moses Akerele, Abayomi Alvin with a cameo performance from YCEE.[27]

Season 7 (2019)[edit]

The seventh series was again based in South Africa and called "MTV Shuga Down South".[28] Stephanie Sandows who had played Tsholo in the first series reappeared as herself for a special.[29]

MTV Shuga Alone Together (2020)[edit]

As a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, Shuga went into a mini-series nightly show titled MTV Shuga Alone Together highlighting the problems of Coronavirus on 20 April 2020. The show was to be broadcast for 65 nights and its backers include the United Nations.[30] The series is based in Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Côte D’Ivoire and the story is explained with on-line conversations between the main characters. The writing is by Tunde Aladese[31] and Nkiru Njoku.[32] They were the head writers on the show and also directed the episodes. The filming, lighting and makeup was done by the actors themselves.[31]


  1. ^ "Staying-Alive". Retrieved 29 February 2012.
  2. ^ "Season 2 contains 6 Epsisodes". Retrieved 3 March 2012.
  3. ^ "HALL OF FAME - WINNERS 2010". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  4. ^ a b Milah, Ojay (28 June 2013). "MTV TV Show Shifts to Nigeria from Kenya". Daily Times. Daily Times Nigeria. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b c Ochugbua, Mary (5 July 2013). "MTV Shuga launches in Nigeria". BusinessDay. Business Day Online. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  6. ^ "'SHUGA' SEASON 3 LAUNCHED: Shifts to Nigeria,with only one Kenyan actor". Hinamundi Reviews. 5 August 2013. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Shuga Ends With A Pow Wow! Catch Episode 8 of MTV Shuga – 'Kasala'". Bella Naija. 20 January 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  8. ^ a b "TV series & multimedia campaign to educate Nigerian youth on HIV, safe sex & teen pregnancy". MTV. MTV Base. 24 June 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d "MTV Berths 'Shuga' in Nigeria". This Day Newspaper. ThisDay Live. 30 June 2013. Archived from the original on 21 December 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  10. ^ a b "Kenyan Actors for Shuga Season 4?". 6 December 2014. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  11. ^ Rosemary, Kokuhilwa. "Shuga: The Movie (The MTV Staying Alive HIV/AIDS Campaign)". Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  12. ^ "MTV "Shuga" to feature local rappers". Capital Group. Retrieved 22 March 2012.
  13. ^ "MTV Shows | Shuga: Love, Sex, Money – Season 2". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  14. ^ "SHUGA Sound Track". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  15. ^ Kevin Oyugi. "GHAFLA! EXCLUSIVE: MTV SHUGA PREMIERE + TRAILER". Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  16. ^ Fadhili, Qanini. "Default Shuga: Love, Sex and Money premieres in Nairobi today". Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 8 March 2012.
  17. ^ "Award winning series back on MTV Base". Retrieved 17 March 2012.
  18. ^ Mukei, Catherine (2012). "'Invinsible' gay scenes on shuga II TV series". Retrieved 31 March 2012.
  19. ^ "It's Finally Here! Watch Episode 1 of MTV Base's Shuga Season 3 – "Home Coming"". Bella Naija. 6 December 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  20. ^ Arogundade, Funsho (28 June 2013). "MTV Adds 'Shuga' To Nigerian Talents". PM News. PM News Nigeria. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  21. ^ Ojo, Amaka (27 November 2013). "Biyi Bandele, Alex Okosi, Banky W, Iyanya, others attend premiere of MTV's Shuga". Nigerian Entertainment Today. The NET NG. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  22. ^ Sulaiman, Azeezat Fadekemi (15 March 2014). "TV Review: Shuga Season 3". Naija Living. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  23. ^ Babalola, Bisoye (5 January 2014). "Teen Y! HOT: Watch Shuga Naija the cast would make you love this series". YNaija. YNaija. Archived from the original on 25 October 2014. Retrieved 7 October 2014.
  24. ^ Ikeh, Chrysanthus (3 December 2014). "MTV announces HIV campaign tagged Shuga on Tour". Nigerian Entertainment Today. The NET NG. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  25. ^ Opeoluwani, Akintayo (4 December 2014). "Shuga To Premier Season 5 June 2015". Daily Times. Retrieved 21 December 2014.
  26. ^ "Shuga Series 5". MTV Shuga. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  27. ^ "Shuga Season 6". MTV Shuga. Retrieved 8 March 2018.
  28. ^ "Meet the cast of MTV Shuga Down South". ZAlebs. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  29. ^ MTV Shuga: Down South (S2) - IN REAL LIFE, retrieved 2020-02-08
  30. ^ "Every Woman Every Child partners with the MTV Staying Alive Foundation to Tackle COVID-19". Every Woman Every Child. 2020-04-16. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  31. ^ a b Akabogu, Njideka (2020-04-16). "MTV Shuga and ViacomCBS Africa Respond to COVID-19 with "Alone Together" Online Series". BHM. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  32. ^ "MTV Shuga: Alone Together | Episode 52". YouTube. 21 July 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020.

External links[edit]