Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Monday, 29 January 2024 23:46

Showmax introduces new teen drama series as it pushes to become Africa's top streamer.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Showmax is gearing up for a February relaunch boosted by NBCUniversal's Peacock technology and bolstered by an ambitious content offering that will see the streamer unveiling 21 new African originals next month alone.

International Emmy-nominated production outfit Tshedza Pictures, is set to bow the teen drama "Youngins" on the streaming platform next month.

Ayakha Ntunja (Thembi on MTV Shuga S3) stars as Amo, the sweet and determined new girl who knows what she wants out of life, with Kealeboga Masango (Zinhle on Rhythm City) as Buhle, an absolute firebrand and the "it" girl at school.

The girls are joined by newcomer Lebohang Lephatsoana as Tumelo, an overly confident, flamboyant ball of energy who is obsessed with social media. Toka Mtabane (young Tau on Five Fingers for Marseilles) plays Khaya, the handsome, popular guy at school and Buhle's boyfriend. Thabiso Ramotshela (Morena on The River) is Mahlatsi Maleka, an intelligent young man who challenges the status quo and takes his marks far too seriously - but he is far from the stereotypical nerdy pushover. Together they form the "famous five" as they navigate the chaos and excitement of boarding school while also trying to deal with all the anguish and drama caused by the adults in their lives.

The five are joined by Thabile Tau as Sefako, head boy at Olifantsfontein High; Amo Telekelo as Palesa, a grade 10 learner who is all about being out and proud of her sexuality; Tshepo Matlala as Tshepo, the class clown; Lihle Ngubo as Zinhle, a grade 9 learner with a damning secret; and Katlego Moloke as Alex, a non-binary grade 10 learner.

Also look out for the likes of SAFTA winner Loyiso MacDonald (Kagiso on The Queen) as Principal Mthembu, DStv Mzansi Viewers Choice Award winner Sanna Mchunu (Zodwa on Gomora) as Matron Lulu, and Keneilwe Matidze (Petronella on Reyka) as Pearl "Miss SA" Buthelezi.

"We grew up in an era when television was dominated by youth dramas like Party of Five and Dawson's Creek that shaped our coming of age," says Tshedza Pictures exec producer Phathu Makwarela. "Over the years, television became focused on all-family viewing and saw a decline in youth dramas. Youngins is our response to the generation that is coming of age and needs content that speaks to them authentically."

"Tshedza Pictures always approaches each show with a desire to make it different," Phathu adds. "We have never produced a youth drama before and we took great consideration in creating a writers' room that reflects the audience that we are talking to. Youngins is a window into the lives of Generation Z viewers that much of society is struggling to keep up with, as the world around them is rapidly changing by the day."

Watch the trailer: