BEING one of the only 10 people selected to spend a day and night in the new Big Brother Africa 3 house before the reality show started, one of the lessons learnt from the house is the emotional strain the housemates experience as they battle for the US$100 000 prize.
The two-bedroomed house does not have much space to share with 11 other housemates and the issue of privacy comes into question. All house activities â€” save for the toilet â€” are monitored by 24 cameras and 52 microphones. There is pressure therefore on the housemates to “play act”. However, as the first day in the house wore away for us, it became increasingly difficult to put on an act and the true colours of characters began to emerge.
Little wonder the house has two professional psychologists to deal with emotional issues.
The show kicked off with much glitz on Sunday night and was broadcast live on Mnet. Nigerian stars Naeto C and Ikechukwu put up an energetic show with South Africaâ€™s DJ Cleo.
The 12 “real” housemates whose identities had been kept a closely guarded secret arrived to a red carpet reception each in a top of the range BMW, the ladies first and the gentlemen after. Each tried to make an impression. Kenyaâ€™s Sheila, probably the best dressed of the housemates, performed some captivating dance moves before entering into the house. Botswanaâ€™s Tawana drew loud jeers from the crowd after she told the presenter she did not know how she would survive in the house considering that she does not only hate women but just “canâ€™t stand them”.
Zimbabweâ€™s unknown Munyaradzi Chidzonga was the last to enter the house. Looking nervous and uneasy, he gave the impression of innocence. Added to this was the long emotional farewell hug to his father who stood at the door of the Big Brother House together with his mother to usher him in and bid him farewell.
The perceived innocence is however already being “tested” as an often topless and well-built Munya has started to prove popular with the ladies in the house.
Munyaâ€™s profile later broadcast on Mnet revealed that the 22-year-old is an acting school graduate passionate about television. “I was born for television,” said Munya in the profile.
Other housemates are drawn from Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Tanzania and Zambia. The fact that they are in professions ranging from photography, banking, a goat farmer, secretarial, small business, modelling and a rap musician, may mean that the house holds more potential than last year to keep viewers glued to their TV sets.
As with past Big Brother shows, this yearâ€™s show is not short of controversy. Within the first 30 minutes in the house, five female housemates huddled on the couch asking each other; “Are you going to have sex in the house?” The answers were indirect and mumbled, leaving room for speculation and expectancy amongst viewers.
Last year, Zimbabweâ€™s representative to the house Bertha Zakeyo courted controversy over her behaviour and closeness to Ghanaâ€™s Kwaku. She was voted out of the house and did not win the prize. Tanzaniaâ€™s Richard eventually scooped the prize.
This year the house is built on Mnetâ€™s Seatini studioâ€™s in Johannesburg with bolder and more daring neon green, bright pink, blue and electric oranges and yellow in the interior dÃ©cor. The style can only be described as a mix of energy, youth and fairytale and lives up to the showâ€™s tagline â€” wild, wicked and wacky.
A new twist to the show is the moving of the popular “shower hour” from morning to an 11-12 night slot daily. This could have been necessitated by complaints from viewers last year that the hour contained scenes of nudity that were not suitable for younger viewers. And talking of nudity, this week Tanzaniaâ€™s Latoya bared all in the shower where she was joined by three male housemates who looked uninterested in her flapping gazongas and ample behind. The boys were also in the nude but frontal camera shots did little to confirm the extent of their treasured secrets. They will definitely blame it on the shower.
Big Brother is a reality show that brings housemates from across the continent together in one house for 91 days and at intervals, viewers and other housemates will nominate and vote out the least popular individual. The housemate who goes the full 91 days without being evicted will win the prize.
Big Brother Africa 3 is being broadcast live 24/7 on a dedicated channel (198) on Dstv. â€” Staff Writer.