A Conversation On ‘MTV Shuga,’ The African Soap Opera That Broke Lupita Nyong’o


“I think one thing the campaign is trying to do is talk about how HIV and AIDS is not a death sentence,” Lupita Nyong’o said in 2010 interview with CNN. The now Academy Award-winning actress was speaking about her first major role, as the star of MTV’s hard-hitting, Kenyan-set soap opera.

“Shuga was so effective on Kenyan youth because of the fact that it was modern, it was hip, it was fast and furious,” Nyong’o added. “In Shuga, it’s young people telling young people, advising young people. So I think that is very effective and young people respond to that”.

Shuga, a sex and relationship drama slash multimedia campaign, launched in 2009 as an MTV Staying Alive Foundation and MTV Base Africa initiative to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS. After two seasons of heartbreak, love, lust, peer pressure, sex, relationships and rejection in Nairobi, the show moved to Lagos in its third year.

Now in its fourth season, the show continues to entertain with gripping storylines that tie in messaging about sexual-health for young audiences on the continent. Read the full interview here.