Studio 263 is the first Zimbabwe's Soap Opera that Premiered in 2002. Initially written by Aaron Chiundura Moyo, the soapie was about life in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. The series made history by becoming one of the few locally produced series to be aired on international television channels such as M-net.
The soapie was sponsored by the Population Services International Zimbabwe (PSI-Z) which got its funding from the United States Agent for International Development (USAID) with the purpose of making an awareness about HIV and AIDS. Formally known as 'MuHarare Hamurarwe (People Works all Night in Harare), the first scripts were written by Aaron Chiundura Moyo who headed the creative department assisted by Tawanda Gunda and Leanord Matsa from September 2002 to 2004. The team was asked by the PSI-Z to form ten characters who represented various HIV and AIDS issues that it wanted to make. Since September 2002, the soapie was screened five times a week for four years before it was pulled off air in 2007.
The soapie's plot is based on real-life situations that Zimbabwean youth face every day especially when it comes to issues such as abstaining from sex and learning one's HIV status. It illustrates why it is important to disclose one's HIV status and as a way of fighting stigma. By so doing, the soapie aimed at revealing that individuals can live positively with HIV. Such is potrayed through the character Tendayi (Tatenda Mavetera) who seeks support from her family and friends as she wants to disclose her status publicly to support other HIV-positive people. The PSI-Z also wanted to effect behaviour change through the power of celebrities. In 2004, the cast and crew of Studio 263 participated in a month of outreach that included hospital, orphanage, and hospice visits.
In 2007, it was pulled off air by the then sole broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation citing contractual disputes. Following this the production had to be discontinued, resulting in some of the actors leaving for greener pastures in other countries.
Studio 263 targeted the urban youth with a view to reduce HIV and AIDS related illnesses.
- Angie Jari
- James Sakupwanya
- John Huni
- Joyce Huni
- Monique Huni
- Tamara ende-Mai Huni
- Kizito Mawoko- WellyMbambo
- Vimbai Jari
- Denzel Burutsa - Jabu
- Stephen Chigorimbo-John Huni -
- Grace Chiweshe
- Tinopona Katsande-Joyce Huni
- Chairmaine Mangw
- Rebecca Mpofu
- Martha Mtambali- Beverly
- Anne Nhira- Vimbai Huni
- David Kerr and Jane Plastow, Media and Performance, Page:79."Boydell and Brewer", 2011.
- The Soul City Institute, Studio 263, 'Communit', Published: ND, Retrieved: 28 Apr 2014