‘Youngins' introducing South African audiences to a vibrant wave of fresh talent

Published Mar 7, 2024


Tshedza Pictures kicked off the new year with its third Showmax Original, ‘Youngins’, a teen drama set at a fictional boarding school named Olifantsfontein High.

‘Youngins’, the show for ama2000s, GenZ has viewers hooked for its intriguing storyline that looks at sexuality, family traumas, popularity, teenage pregnancy and abuse of power.

“Youngins is our response to the generation that is coming of age and needs content that speaks to them authentically,” said Tshedza Pictures executive producer Phathu Makwarela.

Tshedza Pictures cast the right actors to bring the coming of age drama to life, with some fresh, vibrant talent.

While you may have seen the a few faces before, they are now certainly saying; ‘I have arrived’ with these roles.

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.

SAFTA winner Loyiso MacDonald as Principal Mthembu with Ayakha Ntunja as Amo. Picture: Supplied

“I like the fact that we were going to give a whole new perspective to high school life, opening the industry and giving chances to unknown talent,” said Ntunja, who got her first lead character with her casting.

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.

This is Mtabane’s biggest role yet and is working alongside seasoned talent SAFTA winner Loyiso MacDonald (Kagiso on The Queen) as Principal Mthembu.

Toka Mtabane (young Tau on ‘Five Fingers for Marseilles’) plays Khaya, the handsome, popular guy at school and Buhle’s boyfriend. Picture: Supplied

“Always greet the crew. Always greet the crew,” MacDonald told them at a cast meeting.

“The other advice we received from the older actors was that we shouldn't be difficult people to work with - it’s a long run and you want to build a career that you want to be able to sustain.

“But in the same breath, you don't want to turn yourself into a doormat and have people walk all over you. That’s what they always preach and I think it's very useful advice; it's something I always keep at the back of my head.”

Thabiso Ramotshela 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.

Ramotshela is one talented actor, his growth from his character Morena on ‘The River’ is unmissable, he embodies his character of Mahlatsi very well.

Thabiso Ramotshela is Mahlatsi Maleka in ‘Youngins’. Picture: Supplied

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.

Having grown up in the era of ‘Soul Buddyz’, ‘Youngins’ is a refreshing educational drama series aimed at the youth that tackles serious issues that need awareness.

It’s arrived at a time where there is a gap in the market; there are countless shows about witchcraft, heirs fighting for thrones and sex, alcohol and drugs are all over our screens but sadly even ‘Blood & Water’ didn’t turn out to be that dose of educational content aimed at the youth.

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