Intersexions wins awards and the hearts and minds of South African audiences

Intersexions wins awards and the hearts and minds of South African audiences

Intersexions has done it again. The hit drama series supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and South African Department of Trade and Industry has for a second time in so many seasons won the coveted South African Film and Television Award (SAFTA) for Best Drama Series in South Africa and also won in the category Best Actor and Best Actress. Nominated in eight categories Intersexions took four SAFTA Awards.

It is not only awards that the series is winning but also in the hearts and minds of South Africans, influencing the way they think about HIV, their lives and their behaviour. Intersexions II was produced as a docudrama of 26 episodes, focused on secrets and how that which is left unsaid or hidden in our personal and sexual relationships can place us at risk of HIV infection.

Kerry Pelzman, Director of the Health Office at USAID, says that the agency is delighted that Intersexions continues to be recognised for its excellent production values. "We recognise that the South African media environment is extremely competitive and this award demonstrates that the excellent creative execution from Season I of Intersexions has been carried forward into Season II.

This creative excellence has enabled the series to again break through the media clutter and talk to the hearts, minds and actions of its audiences".
Intersexions II reached just under 6 million viewers each week. Research interviews with viewers show that it touched the lives of those who tuned in. A man in Mpumalanga stresses, "I've learnt that you need to take responsibility for your own mistakes, for your own decisions". Viewers began to see their own actions through the eyes of Intersexions characters, a reminder of their own life stories.

Intersexions II got the nation talking. University students share how the series sparked a dialogue about trust leading to less condom use and how they need to establish condom ground rules in future relationships. Couples used the episode on open relationships to talk about their own relationships and to bring difficult issues out in the open. One young man admits, "I changed. I was a player. I'm not a player anymore". Even parents found that Intersexions made discussions about sex with their children easier and even fun.

Intersexions was a collaborative partnership between Johns Hopkins Health and Education in South Africa (JHHESA), SABC Education and SABC 1 and was produced by Quizzical Pictures and Ants Multimedia. Research on the series was carried out by the Centre for AIDS Development, Research and Evaluation (CADRE). The Intersexions II series was jointly funded by USAID through the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and through the South African Department of Trade and Industry.