Series overview and themes

The 26-part Soul City 12 series tells the story of how the youth of Soul City shake off their despondency to participate as well as counter the pessimism and disengagement that hampers the full potential of the local clinic in their community.

This series speaks to all South Africans, particularly youth. It poses questions to the individual and encourages each to acknowledge OUR role in bettering our society…Do we add value? Do we care for each other? Are we our brother’s keeper? Are we trustworthy? What can we do to improve our situation?

Ultimately, the series will be driven by stories we can relate to as South Africans. South Africans want to see themselves on TV; ordinary people they are able to connect with in situations they are familiar with.

Main plot

The main series arc presents characters and relationships that reflect on creating a dynamic community and shows how young South Africans can change each other’s lives for the better and in so doing participate in making a new health programme that becomes the heart of a community – a Soul City that is alive with human connectivity and with a greater common purpose that engages young and old.

Our community health workers (CHWs) are the critical liaison between clinic and community as they build relationships in the community that emphasise a preventative rather than symptomatic health approach among residents. AB, until recently unemployed but deeply committed to his community, and RELEBOGILE, with big dreams for herself, are partners in capturing data in their area of 250 households, liaising and referring residents back to the clinic.

SISTER BETTINA leads the CHWs from the clinic, directing her outreach team which includes HUMPHREY, THABISILE, LEBO AND PINKY. All have received CHW training and are excited to be part of this pilot. The opening of the clinic heralds a new era in the health system, underpinned by a new maternity wing that operates on a 24-hour basis.

Just as our CHWs find their feet, other young Soul City residents discover the old gym and reinvigorate it as a sanctuary for youth through art, music and dance. The organic growth of this dynamic place becomes the heart of much activity but, most importantly, it shows the growth of a powerful platform of democratic action that enforces the notion of community participation in the success of the pilot.

At first the youth are a little disorganised, but soon a committee is established, and when they face the reality that council has plans for a taxi and commercial hub on the land on which the old gym stands, they engage and lobby council. But BRA'JEFF, who is also chairperson  of the clinic committee, is keen to push through the taxi rank because of vested interests. He uses the clinic committee as his own fiefdom, frustrating SIS NONI who knows she needs a highly functioning clinic committee.

When a major health crisis hits the area, the new clinic is overrun with young children and elderly suffering from rotavirus. Amidst the crisis though, Sis Noni is pleased because the CHWs’ data-capturing drive is helping them assess the crisis more accurately, while the youth from the Smoking Joe gym go all out to assist the clinic once the emergency processes kick in.

But when the health crisis subsides, the youth face the harsh reality of the closure and demolition of their centre to make way for a commercial hub. Will they be able to save their space and harness the support of the broader community? 

Sub-plots

The reality of our fantasies

Message arena: Teenage pregnancy, Maternal & Infant Care

The Story
THANDO (17) is disappointed that, since their mother died a year ago, she has to answer to her ever-bubbly but highly overbearing sister NOKHANYO (28). Thando wants to live a life beyond Soul City. She wants to be an airhostess and travel the world. Thando is inspired and fired up by the dreams she’s created with her secret boyfriend MAVUSANA who also wants to drive out of Soul City in his taxi and be a pilot or bus driver, or even join the Navy. 

Instead of helping out and cleaning the house when she gets home, Thando is happiest when she is designing her life on Twitter as @QueenZiyawa and ‘living’ the illusion or fantasy about her wonderful life as a seasoned traveller to her followers that eventually will grow to thousands (to her surprise).

While at a party with Mavusana, Thando feels a sharp ache in her lower abdomen. By morning the pain has not gone away. Thando goes to the clinic, and is eventually seen by Sister Maureen who unsympathetically gives her the news that she is pregnant. Maureen’s tone is judgemental and unkind. Thando is shocked by the news; this is not what she planned and asks Maureen about an abortion. Maureen tells her it is too late…she’s 4-and-a-half months pregnant.

Although Mavusana is taken aback when he is told the news, he does his best to be supportive. Nokhanyo as expected is initially angry, but overcomes this and they decide to handle the pregnancy together. But Thando resists going back to the clinic, hating Maureen and the clinic’s queues. Her pregnancy doesn’t go well; she is constantly nauseous and tired and, despite Nokhanyo’s protestations, drops out of school. They have a huge argument and Thando packs her bags and moves in with Mavusana.

However, a health scare during her pregnancy forces her to call on Nokhanyo for help and she is rushed to clinic. Thando realises the danger of what had happened, that she nearly lost her baby and progressively embraces the support of the clinic’s pre-natal care, joins a support group, makes a transport plan for her birth and bonds with her sister. As the birth nears, Mavusana offers his help and the birth of baby Lwandile is a happy event for Thando, Nokhanyo and their friends in the community.

When Lwandile fails to latch during the early days of breastfeeding, Nokhanyo panics and buys formula but Thando, who has information from the clinic about breastfeeding, insists on persevering, trying different positions until Lwandile finally becomes a 100% consumer of breast milk. Proud of her younger sister, Nokhanyo offers to take care of the baby so that Thando can return to school, and both ensure that his post-natal care is correct through the help of the clinic, the CHWs and MomConnect SMS service.

When No Means No

Message arena: Thuthuzela care centres/ Gender-based violence
Value: Responsibility/ Life and Death/ Justice and Injustice/ Love

The Story
ZINTLE (17) comes from a well-to-do family in Soul City, and her father is a respected businessman. But behind the golden gates of their home, all is not well. Her parents’ relationship is emotionally abusive. More and more Zintle finds herself alienated – she knows she wouldn’t ever want to be treated like her father treats her mother.

When she meets PULE (23) at the youth centre, he is everything her father isn’t: kind, caring and interested in her thoughts and world view. They have a great deal in common and she is able to tell him her heart’s secrets. As her parents’ relationship deteriorates, Zintle spends as much time away from home as possible. She does her homework at school and works with her peers at the Youth centre. She and Pule grow closer.

As their relationship becomes closer, they discuss having sex but Zintle wants to wait. She doesn’t feel ready yet. Pule agrees. He is not pressuring her.

Zintle and Pule are alone in his studio.  Both are relaxed, their worries put aside. They start to kiss, explore and touch. Zintle doesn’t want to take it too far, she doesn’t want to have intercourse yet. But Pule doesn’t want to stop, and despite her saying no, he tells her this will be good for them, it will make her happy. He forces himself on her, even using a condom. But when she tries to push him away, and tells him ‘no’, he uses violence. When he is done, it leaves Zintle confused and in tears. He tries to hold her but she pulls away. She didn’t want this. Pule firmly believes She wanted to have sex. She leaves in a hurry.

A crushed and shaken Zintle is confronted with the demon of her alter-ego who blames her for being raped. However, the observant eye of Sonto raises suspicion that something bad has happened to Zintle, and Sonto and Murakes pay a visit to Zintle at home just in time to help her out of a dark hole of guilt and shame. Sonto along with Zintle’s mother, Poppie, accompany her to the TCC centre where she is examined, counselled and given legal advice. With her mother by her side, Zintle feels strong and determined enough to lay a charge against Pule.

Financial Literacy

Murakes regrets not getting car insurance!

Murakes is a jack-of-all-trades who makes his money doing piece jobs fixing appliances or small household maintenance jobs such as painting or repairs. Murakes owns a second hand car, which he inherited from his late uncle. He spends his free time servicing it (fixing the oil, checking the cambelt, fixing the wheel balance, fixing the wipers). The car is still in good condition and has helped Murakes in times of need. Murakes takes his car on a drive through Soul City. He loses control and crashes into Sister Bettina, who has just bought a new car.

Sister  Bettina is irate when she discovers Murakes has no car insurance. Murakes tries to charm Sister Bettina to let it go because it’s a minor dent. Surely the she can claim from her own insurance.

However, he does not realise that there is excess to pay. Sister  Bettina  insists Murakes has to pay R4000 for this excess. Although he agrees, this is money he can’t afford.

Murakes asks Nokhanyo to help him pay Sister Bettina back. She doesn’t have the money. She tells him he should have at least taken out 3rd party car insurance the minute he got the car from his uncle.

Murakes works out just how much money is still owed to him from the repairs he’s done for people. It won’t be enough to pay the full debt to Bettina. Murakes tries to negotiate a deal with Bettina and asks for more time but she refuses and gives him a stern warning and a deadline.

Murakes decides that the best thing to do is to sell the old car. He sells the car and pays Bettina off. He swears to never drive a car that doesn’t have 3rd party insurance.

Nokhanyo uses her business insurance to help her restore her Salon

Nokhanyo is devastated to find her hair salon vandalised and mirrors broken and half her equipment stolen.

Luckily she’s insured thanks to her foresight and planning. She has insured her business against theft and damage.

Nokhanyo, stressed by the extra work load and Thando, attacks Murakes and his friends saying he’s always got people coming in and out of the yard. Maybe one of his clients is to blame for the break-in. Murakes is disappointed in her. Nokhanyo finds it hard to believe Murakes would sabotage her but her anger leads to a heated argument between the two and they stop talking to each other.

The insurance company pays out. Thando tells Nokhanyo off about how she’s treated Murakes, making her realise that she was wrong in accusing Murakes of being part of the theft. Nokhanyo apologises to Murakes. They make up.

Nokhanyo and Murakes return home with items to replace those that were stolen and vandalised – it becomes a celebration as Nokhanyo shares her ideas of expansion for the salon.

Sis Noni’s Household Insurance has lapsed

Sis’Noni comes home to find her geyser broken. She has it fixed but upset at being so vulnerable to the vagaries of the world, decides to take charge and gets advice and then finally signs up for household insurance, and when she gets a new phone, checks the fine print on consumer credit insurance.  She tells Mandla he is making fun of her when he tells her she is being obsessive with all this insurance and she makes it very clear why she has chosen specific insurance to cover her and her boys.

Saving & Third Party Insurance

Murakes, wanting his uncle’s car back from the car sales man who promised to keep it for him, has been trying to save money every month. He has become somewhat tougher on his clients, asking for a deposit up front before taking on repairs. He shares his growing business acumen with Nokhanyo and they advise each other about being a self-made businessperson.  Every month he saves 10% of whatever he makes.  Finally the big day comes, and he is able to buy back his beloved car and it is a celebratory day for Murakes.  He gets his third party insurance.

Unit Trust Investments

Jeff has used a creative accountant to dupe SARS and now has SARS after him for a huge amount of money.  When he finally tells his wife, Poppie, she becomes hysterical but Jeff shuts her down and tells her to mind her own business and to focus on running the home. But Poppie is no longer willing to be Jeff’s victim and she seeks financial advice.  She sets up an endowment policy which will help her save money in case Jeff’s businesses go under.