The Story Overview

Episode 1

Dr Lerato Molefe comes back from Medical School where she was lecturing. She is introduced to new staff members i.e. Sol, Mario, Karen and Cecilia. Vusi suffers a stroke while they are having a party, and he is taken to hospital where he is diagnosed as suffering from very high blood pressure -- the cause of his stroke. Bettina blames herself for Vusi's stroke, saying that she should have made sure he exercised and ate healthy foods, as these are some of the ways to prevent and treat high blood pressure.

Dr Budlender orders everyone to have his or her blood pressure checked. He and Dr Lerato Molefe inform everyone about the dangers of high blood pressure. They emphasise that high blood pressure is simple to prevent and treat and yet if not treated; it can lead to serious consequences, such as stroke. Simple lifestyle change measures such as eating well (cutting down on fat and salt), avoiding alcohol, losing weight (if overweight) and exercising regularly can prevent high blood pressure. The same measures can treat the condition in order to bring the blood pressure down and avoid the consequences of high blood pressure. Cecilia tries to end her affair with Mario. They have a heated fight. Ali starts walking to work as an exercise to help lower his blood pressure. He is terrified of having a stroke and can't even go to hospital to see Vusi who is comatosed. Bettina anguishes by his bedside, praying he will survive. We are also introduced to the schoolteacher, Thabang -- Matlakala's husband. Thabang has two children, Thembi and Bheki, from a previous marriage. He and Matlakala have a small baby, Mapaseka. Vusi regains consciousness but is paralysed on his right side from the stroke. Two policemen, Captain Modise and Rafik Desai, go to the hospital to look for Dr Lerato to tell her that Mpanza (the man who killed her fiancé) has escaped from prison. Dr Cecilia Malala is murdered.

Episode 2

Mario is devastated by Cecilia's death and Lerato blames herself for lending Cecilia her car. She thinks the murderer was after her. Tebogo, (Thandi and Ali's son) has his first "wet dreams" and he tells his friend Mpho. Modise and Rafik investigate Cecilia's murder and Mario is very upset that he might be implicated in Cecilia's murder. Lizeka and Dinana and their friends from the band Guz (Simon, Stanza and Pinkie) go to Sonke Productions for auditions. Impressed by the audacious Lizeka, Julius offers her a job at Sonke as his secretary. Mpho tells some of his friends about Tebogo's "wet dreams" and Tebogo is furious. Tuko, and Smangaliso tease Tebogo saying that if he doesn't find himself a girl to sleep with, he is going to go mad. They also claim that they have slept with girls - they are not "lighties" anymore. Tebogo goes to see Sol and asks for condoms. Sol advises him about sex and condoms and how condoms will prevent both pregnancy and the spread of STD's like AIDS. "Man to man", he tells him sex is special and he shouldn't feel pressurised into having sex before he feels ready. Tebogo asks Thembi out to the movies. He thinks that if he buys her things she will "owe" him and the fact that she said she loves him automatically constitutes agreement to have sex. Tebogo brags to his friends after the movies that he is going to sleep with Thembi at Simon's place. Ironically, Thembi is impressed by Tebogo's "nice" ways. Thembi and Tebogo go to Simon's shack to look for "Lizeka's bag". They kiss but when Tebogo tries to take Thembi's blouse off, he spoils everything. She tells him that she doesn't want to see him anymore. Tebogo tells Mpho that he didn't sleep with Thembi but brags to Tuko and his gang that he did. Tuko tries to make a move on Thembi and he finds out the truth. A furious Thembi confronts Tebogo. Thembi and her girlfriends talk about sex. Mandisa had sex with Tuko even though she didn't really want to. Thembi says it's still rape even though Tuko is Mandisa's boyfriend. Tebogo is distraught because he has really fallen for Thembi. He apologises to her for what he did and asks her to give him another chance. Sensing his sincerity, Thembi tentatively agrees to call a truce. Bettina and Sol find Cecilia's blood-covered bag in Mario's office.

Episode 3

Lizeka starts working at Sonke. She tries to negotiate an audition for "Guz". Julius starts making moves on Lizeka and she rejects him -- Julius is unimpressed. Vusi is back from hospital, still struggling with his stroke. Bettina tries her best to help him and to make him comfortable. Lizeka meets Thoko Skosana (Sis' Thoko) -- a co-worker and union representative. Sis Thoko warns her about Julius and tells her he has a history of sexually harassing his secretaries. Julius continues to harass Lizeka, threatening to fire her if she doesn't sleep with him. Lizeka tells her best friend, Dinana, about Julius. Dinana defines this as sexual harassment and advises her to speak to Sis Thoko about it. Lizeka is worried about losing her job. The next day Lizeka decides to tell Sis Thoko who assures her that there are laws to protect workers from such harassment. She advises her to lay a grievance against Julius and explains that Sonke will have to investigate and hold a hearing. Guz get an audition during which Pinkie sees Julius putting his hand up Lizeka's skirt. Lizeka runs off in tears. Lizeka lays a grievance and asks Pinkie to testify. She refuses believing it will jeopardise her singing career. Dinana and Stanza come up with an idea. They hide in the roof with the intention of videotaping an incidence of harassment. However, the battery goes flat and they are forced to flee when Julius hears a noise and investigates. Mr Mokoena, the owner of Sonke Entertainment, is informed of Lizeka's complaint. Given the law, he takes it seriously and decides to hold a hearing. At the hearing, Julius denies the charges. Meantime Simon sees the videotape that has recorded some footage of the harassment. He confronts Stanza who explains. Together they convince Pinkie to testify. Just as the hearing is about to close, Pinki tells Mr Mokoena what she saw during the recording session. Mr Mokoena recommends a disciplinary hearing against Julius to decide whether dismissal is appropriate or not. Julius resigns in a fury. The police find Mario's car smashed up against a tree, but there is no sign of Mario.

Episode 4

Matlakala comes back from work late and Thabang is very angry. She tries to cheer him up by giving him a shirt she bought for him but he throws it on the floor, verbally abusing her. He tells his children to go to their bedroom and he slaps Matlakala hard across the side of her head, knocking her to the floor. The next morning he acts as if nothing happened and apologizes to Matlakala. Lerato meets Greg -- Ian's long lost brother - at the clinic. Thabang is having a problem with his salary at school -- he hasn't been paid for three months. He doesn't like the fact that Matlakala is supporting him. Nonceba sees Matlakala's bruised face and she asks her about it. Matlakala lies -- she fell. Lerato goes out for dinner with Greg and he tells her about his past life -- it looks like they could become close friends. Maybe more? The Serithi family go out for dinner and have a good time. We see how close Matlakala and the children are and that there are good times. Thabang overhears Matlakala telling her father about the beatings and he is furious -- "I told you not to discuss our business with anyone!". The children are terrified, but Bheki stops him from beating Matlakala again. Thabang tells Bheki he will understand when he gets older that as the man in the house, he must be "captain of his ship". Thembi tells Matlakala that Thabang used to beat up her mother too. Matlakala is shocked but she doesn't show it. Matlakala goes to her mother and tells her what Thembi told her. Matlakala's mother tries to tell her that she must "bekezela" (endure) because Thabang paid lobola for her and it is a woman's duty to make the marriage work. Matlakala gets a wake-up call when a woman is brought to the clinic - her boyfriend has stabbed her. Later the woman dies. Matlakala goes to stay at her parent's house. She refuses to go home until Thabang's family and her family have a meeting about his violent behavior. Thabang's father tells Thabang that he must discipline Matlakala -- "according to tradition". Matlakala must know who the boss is in the house. At the family meeting, Matlakala's father takes a strong stand as a man, against violence vs women. The elder officiating emphasises that he has been around a long time and nowhere in culture or tradition is violence vs women condoned. A man who beats his wife is deemed a coward. Thabang apologies and the episode ends unclear as to whether Matlakala will agree to return.

Episode 5

Two nine-year-old boys, Bongani and Luke, are nearly hit by a truck but are saved by Bongani's mother, Martha, who injures herself in the process. Martha is a domestic worker who is employed by Katerina and Daniel Scott. The Scotts want to take out a life-insurance policy on Martha with disability. Martha agrees and she goes to the clinic to have the compulsory blood tests. Martha finds out that she is HIV positive and she doesn't believe it. She has only ever slept with her late husband. She is worried about her son Bongani and about her job. Sol, the clinic counsellor helps her understand more about HIV, reassuring her that she can live a productive life before she gets sick with AIDS. Martha tells Katerina she is positive. Katerina is shocked but assures Martha she won't lose her job. However, Katerina is unable to deal with the issue. She begins to treat Martha differently. Her husband is deeply concerned for Martha and insists that Katerina pulls her self together. He tells her it is illegal to fire someone who is HIV positive. Greg is offered a job at the clinic dispensary. Stanza and his band are going on tour and Lizeka doesn't like the idea -- she wants to break it off with Stanza. Katrina is making Martha's life miserable. She resigns and taking her son, she goes to stay with her sister, Thandi Mzwayi (the wife of Ali, the clinic porter). Bongani and Luke are very close and they don't want to be separated. Bongani invites Luke to visit his new home in the township. They get into trouble and disappear. Katerina goes to Soul City to find Martha. Distraught, they search everywhere for their sons. Although they find them safe, the trauma brings the two women together again and Katrina finally understands how unfair she has been. Katerina asks Martha to come back to work. Mario is found by a stranger sleeping in his backyard. The stranger takes Mario to the clinic but he doesn't even know his name. He has lost his memory.

Episode 6

Ali and Vusi have started taking walks together to bring down their high blood pressure. They pass the Seriti home. They overhear a fight. Thabang and Matlakala are arguing about caring for their crying baby. Thabang believes it is not a man's job. When Matlakala responds, Thabang gets angry, saying that she is cheeky and disrespectful. She is hospitalized after the ensuing beating. Ali wants to intervene but Vusi tells him that "what happens between a man and his wife is none of their business." At the hospital, Matlakala says she's been mugged but the doctor suspects domestic violence. He tells her about women's organizations where she can get help and gives her a number to call. Nonceba and Bettina visit Matlakala and notice the card. They advise Matlakala to seek help. At the women's organization Phumzile the counsellor, tells her about the new DV Act and how to get a Protection Order. Nonceba, Bettina and Sol confront Matlakala's neighbors, Mandla & Ivy. Mandla asks them to leave because "what happens between Thabang and his wife is none of their business -- it's a private affair". Matlakala leaves Thabang and goes to stay with her parents. Thabang is enraged but Matlakala refuses to go back. Thabang starts hitting her and her father, Thabo, calls the police. The police arrive but do nothing, saying, "it's another family dispute". That night at the local community-policing forum Matlakala and her father confront the community and the police. Captain Modise is angry. The new Domestic Violence Act says the police must intervene. He promises action will be taken against the errant cops. Matlakala is promoted at work. Matlakala gets a Protection Order against Thabang. Thabang follows Matlakala home and begs her to return. She refuses and he starts beating her again. This time, the neighbours start banging pots in an attempt to stop Thabang and make it clear they disapprove. The police arrive and arrest a disbelieving Thabang -- he has broken the Protection Order.

Episode 7

Matlakala is examined by Lerato who fills in a J-88 form. She explains this can be used as evidence in court. Matlakala goes to the police station to lay a charge of assault against Thabang. Vusi seems to be recovering from his stroke. He is feeling much better. Bettina remains concerned and Vusi reminds him to take his blood pressure pills everyday -- even if he feels well. You can't feel high blood pressure. Vusi goes to the clinic to get his pills and he meets his long lost friend Joseph Ramathe, who also suffers from high blood pressure. Joseph claims to own Kwela Transport and acts very rich. Vusi is very impressed although Bettina is not. Joseph is bad influence on Vusi. He smokes, eats fatty food full of salt and takes his high blood pressure pills erratically -- only when he feels unwell. Vusi is tempted. Joseph takes Vusi to Kwela Transport and Vusi is very impressed with his business. Joseph gives Vusi some business advice. Bettina is very angry that Vusi drove despite his stroke. Vusi tells Bettina that she must stop treating him like a child. Rafik and Modise meet Mpanza and Rabbit. Mpanza says he has nothing to do with Cecilia's murder and that he was nowhere near the clinic when it happed. Modise doesn't believe him. Vusi starts acting like Joseph -- eating fatty foods, drinking beer and leaving his pills at home. Vusi gets into trouble when he climbs on top of the clinic roof and nearly falls. While he's at the clinic, Lerato checks his blood pressure and its high. Vusi confesses he hasn't been taking his medicine. Joseph invites Vusi to go and watch soccer with him at the stadium. But when Vusi gets to Kwela Transport he finds that Joseph has been taken to hospital. He collapsed with a stroke. Thabang's mother, Rethabile, tries to convince Matlakala to drop the charges against Thabang. She says it is a woman's duty to make the marriage work. Matlakala refuses. Mario remembers something about the night of the murder and he tells Rafik. Vusi finds out at the hospital that Joseph has been lying all the time and that Jerome own Kwela Transport.

Episode 8

Thabang's father finds a lawyer for Thabang. Matlakala is experiencing problems with Bheki. He hits a girl at school then runs away. Matlakala and Thembi find Bheki. Matlakala tries to convince him that everything will be fine. Matlakala consults a lawyer, David Diepenaar. Thabang and Matlakala go to court. Mandla, their neighbour, is called to testify. Matlakala is also called to the stand. Matlakala meets Nomsa Madlala, Thabang's ex-wife. Nomsa tells her Thabang used to beat her too. He got custody of the children by implying she was an alcoholic and thus an unfit mother. In fact she turned to alcohol to cope with the abuse. Matlakala is secretly worried that Nomsa might want Thembi and Bheki back. Eddie pays Thabang a visit in jail and they argue. Eddie tells Thabang that what he did to Matlakala was wrong. Thabang doesn't want to listen. Lerato is called to the stand to provide medical evidence. Matlakala is also called to the stand, but Maria (Thabang's lawyer) accuses her of wanting to divorce Thabang to get his house. Nomsa is called to the stand to testify against Thabang. He is furious. Thabang is found guilty of assault and for breaking a court interdict. The magistrate sends a clear message to abusers that domestic violence is against the law.

Episode 9

Bheki continues to behave badly at school and gets himself into trouble. Giving evidence in mitigation of sentence, Angelina (principal at Thabang's school) testifies that he must have lost control as he was under extreme stress at work. Diepenaar points out that he managed to control himself by not hitting others. What gives him the right to hit his wife? Lizeka and Dinana get themselves a flat in Melville and they are very excited about it. Lizeka goes to the clinic to tell her father, Ali, and he hits the roof. Karen tells Ali that her brother from Kimberly is coming to visit her and she asks for a favour from Ali. In prison, Thabang meets Jabu, who runs a small support group for men who are arrested for abusing women. He invites Thabang to participate, but Thabang is not interested. We hear different stories and views of these men. Thandi goes to the clinic to talk to Ali. Ali agrees that Lizeka can move out. Lerato comes home from dinner with Greg to find that somebody has broken into her house. She calls Greg to come back and they call the police. Greg offers Lerato a place to stay. Bheki is suspended from the soccer team and on his way home Mandisa teases him about getting a red card. He hits Mandisa who falls into a culvert and loses consciousness. Thabang's father testifies for Thabang, saying that he brought Thabang up to believe in the right to discipline his wife. He believes this is justifiable because he paid lobola for Matlakala. Matlakala confronts Thabang with having influenced Bheki to become violent. Lizeka and Dinana have moved into their new flat. Pinki arrives unexpectedly with her bags saying that her mother threw her out. Back at home; Lerato hears a noise while sleeping. She goes out carrying a weapon to see who it is and finds out that its Rafik. They sit and drink coffee together. Bheki goes to see Thabang and he tells him that what he did he learned from him. It is a turning point for Thabang. Karen asks Mario to go to the concert with her. Thabang is sentenced to four years and six months in prison. The magistrate talks about the seriousness of domestic violence and how it affects the children, the survivor and the community as a whole.

Episode 10

inki wakes up with a sore throat on the day of her audition. She biggest dream is to become a world famous singer. She goes to the clinic. A man who doesn't have transport, brings his wife to the clinic in a wheelbarrow. At the clinic Pinki meets Zola Dube, owner of Dube caterers, who immediately falls in love with her. He offers to take her home. Karen asks advice on inter-racial relationships from Lerato and tells her how much she loves Mario. Matlakala comes up with an idea of raising funds for a clinic kombi that will make old people's lives easier. Contestants must answer some questions about high blood pressure. Back at home, Pinki brags to her friends about Zola's convertible and business. Lizeka and Dinana are worried about her because she doesn't have a job. They don't want to see her becoming dependent on a man for survival. What if things start going wrong? Everyone in the clinic is selling raffle tickets to patients and staff for the clinic kombi. Meanwhile Ali and Bettina are backstabbing each other. Pinki is struggling to find a job. She sees an advert from Zola's company -- looking for a temporary receptionist and thinks her worries are over. Zola doesn't think she is right for the job and besides, why should she bother working when he can take care of her. Pinki is crazy about Zola and although she is reluctant initially, she is dazzled by his money and she stops looking for a job. Her friends are worried about her future and they try to advise her. She thinks they are jealous. Zola buys her expensive clothes and he pays for her new flat at "Highlevel Luxury Apartment"". What else can she ask for? Pinki realizes that Zola wants her to be his property and she leaves him. This after lying to her about posting her singing school application forms. She decides to be her own ticket to a better life. Even if it is harder. Mpanza is arrested. Pinki wins R1000 at the raffle and Bheki wins an exercise bike. Ali is not impressed.

Episode 11

Dinana is now working as a mechanic for Joe Shabangu who owns a garage. He fires her because his friend from jail -- Zakes, doesn't have a job but his real reason is that he believes Dinana's job is man's job. Dinana goes to a repentant Zola for small business advice. He tells her how to do a business plan and advises her to go to the micro enterprise lenders for a loan. Matlakala is beginning to get closer to Nomsa but she is still afraid that Nomsa might want her children back. A man, Mr. Shabangu, is admitted at the clinic in severe cardiac failure. Pinki starts working at Masakhane clinic as Matlakala's assistant. Zola asks her forgiveness, and they agree that they can still be friends. Dinana starts her own business - fixing old/broken appliances and re-selling. The clinic offers her a shack to work in. She has a savings record from the time she worked at garage and this, plus her business plan illustrated to the micro-lender that she is serious about her business and responsible with money. Lizzie is very worried about Ntate Shabangu because he says he doesn't have a family. Later she finds out that he does have a family whom he hasn't seen since he deserted his pregnant wife. His dying wish is to see her and the son he never knew. She finds out that Ntate Shabangu's surname is the same as Zakes (?Joe) and that Zakes is Ntate Shabangu's son whom he deserted many years earlier. Dinana doesn't have electricity in her shack. Pinki volunteers to help her with an extension cord that will be connected from the clinic to Dinana's shack. The extension cord is damaged and it causes a power failure in the clinic. Ntate Shabangu nearly dies during the power-out. Dinana saves the day with her electrical expertise. Afterwards he is reunited with his son, Joe. Karen fires Pinki for putting a patient's life at risk and Dinana is thrown out of the clinic shack. She starts looking for another shack and Pinki helps her. Pinki uses her own money to pay for a new shack. Rafik and Lerato's relationship begins to get serious. Rafik is brought to hospital with a gunshot wound.

Episode 12

Modise finds out that the bullet that shot Rafik was fired from the same weapon that killed Cecilia. Stanza and Simon come back from their tour. Dinana is very excited but Lizeka doesn't really know how to react. Simon's got a new girlfriend, Nomfundo, whom he met in Durban. He is madly in love with her and has promised to find her a job. Lizeka finds out that Simon's got a new girlfriend and she is a bit disappointed. Nomfundo and Simon get intimate although Nomfundo doesn't want things to progress to sex yet. Although they both ultimately get carried away by the moment, Nomfundo insists that Simon use a condom when they have sex. The next day, Nomfundo tells Simon that she is HIV positive. Simon reacts very negatively and dumps her. Lizzie is very worried about Sol. She thinks he is having an affair. She and Bettina decide to follow him one night to see where he goes. They find out that Sol is a stage comedian at Tshisa's tavern. Lizzie is shocked that he's been lying, but relieved that he is not seeing another woman. Karen asks Greg why he orders so many sleeping tablets and he tells her that if you order in bulk there is a discount. Nonfundo goes to see Sol and she tells him her sad story. She then decides to go back to Durban. Sol goes to the station to find Nomfundo and tells her that he wants to give her a job at the clinic. Nomfundo decides to stay. She won't let her life be ruined by Simon's reaction. Nomfundo goes to Tshisa's Tavern and she suprises Simon when she goes on stage and tells everyone that she is HIV positive and that the man she loved had left her. She has the support of her new friends, Stanza and Dinana and Sol. This has made it possible for her to disclose her status. Modise and Rafik search Mario's car and find the gun that killed Cecilia. They arrest Mario. Simon realises he is losing something too special. He asks to be with her through thick and thin.

Episode 13

Karen goes to Sis Bertha's Shebeen after Mario's arrest, and she has one or two drinks. Driving home she hits a young boy, Benni. Benni claims to be a street kid and Karen takes him to her flat for a few days. Ali has organized a basketball team, but their sponsor is a beer company called Rhino Beer. Thandi intervenes. She argues that athletics and beer don't mix. Ali is very disappointed but he understands her point. Instead of having a beer company sponsor them, Bettina and Thandi come up with the idea of a ""Soul City Bash"", where they can raise a lot of money for the basketball team uniform. Karen finds out that some of the sleeping tablets that Greg ordered are missing. She informs Budlender, who suggests that they confront Greg. Benni is the only person in Soul City who can see through Karen. He asks her about Mario and she says he's just a friend, but Benni knows that she is lying. Karen's friend Leonie comes to see her. They take Benni to a restaurant. They speak Afrikaans, thinking that Benni doesn't understand them, but they are wrong. Benni asks Karen to drink only one glass of wine and not two because she is driving. Karen shouts at Benni for asking her a lot of questions about Mario and later feels guilty. Mario tells Modise that he knows that Greg is the one who killed Cecilia, but Modise doesn't believe him. When Karen and Budlender confront Greg about the missing drugs he storms out. Lerato tells Rafik that Greg was in prison for five years and that he was not in an ashram. Karen finds out from child welfare that Benni is not a street kid -- he stays with his grandmother. Karen takes Benni home. Rafik goes to Bloemfontein to investigate Greg's past. Karen goes to see Mario in jail. He tells her he loves her and wants her to start thinking about marriage. Karen tries to ignore what is saying. Phumzile asks Matlakala if she is interested in opening a crisis center for abused women in Masakhane clinic. Rafik finds out that Greg killed Cecilia. Greg goes to the clinic and holds Lerato hostage. Rafik phones Lerato and tells her the bad news about Greg. Greg is arrested after Lerato shocks him with a heart machine and Mario is released and reunited with Karen.

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