Public lip-locking proves big 'no' for staid South Africans

KISSING a stranger on camera is too intimate and shameful for South Africans.

A group of The South African School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance students took to the streets with an odd request last week. "Will you kiss a complete stranger on camera?" they asked shoppers at Durban's Gateway Theatre of Shopping.

After the initial horror and red faces, the replies were simply "no". Two young men confidently agreed but disappeared before partners could be found.

Even couples, some married, refused to lock lips on camera. The few who did, awkwardly smooched as if it really was their first kiss.

The students plan to shoot a short documentary based on a YouTube video, First Kiss, which went viral with more than 77 million hits.

US filmmaker Tatia Pilieva created the video as an ad for a clothing company but when it was discovered the "strangers" in her clip were actually models and musicians, several aspiring filmmakers around the world decided to do a real take on her concept.

Clinical sexologist Leandie Buys said an open-mouth kiss was not just a kiss. It was sexual, which most people would find too intimate to do in public. - Nivashni Nair