Dr Garth Japhet was a frustrated doctor working in a South African clinic wondering how to educate people in the townships about how to avoid commonly fatal health complaints such as burns, dehydration and disease. Along with another doctor, Shereen Usdin, he decided that he could better spread health education via a soap opera. Together they developed Soul City, which became an instant hit, and had viewers talking about the programme and swapping health advice as seen in the show.
Emanuel Rosen, author of Anatomy of Buzz has analysed why it was so successful. Elements of the show that ensured the message spread include: good storytelling, characters use open questioning and multiplatform presentation of the story – TV, radio and printed pamphlets.
Read more on Anatomy of Buzz.