BBA and a $100,000 Richer Richard!

by SOC Okenwa

The DSTV’s popular show Big Brother Africa (BBA) has come and gone with winner(s) and losers emerging. As the 24/7 show went on in Randberg South Africa it attracted a lot of patronage, viewership and criticisms. For over three months (98 days) the popular international controversial cross-cultural programme (with a hundred thousand US dollars jackpot) lasted viewers across Africa in particular and the world in general were treated to pulsating romantic moments. In the end Richard Bezuidenhout from Tanzania emerged the winner edging out our own “facially ugly” Ofunneka Molokwu. Ofunneka therefore took the second position with Richard’s love-bird Tatiana from Savimbi’s Angola clinching the third slot.

The Big Brother Africa programme lived up to the exciting expectation of many and disappointed many as well. It sought to demystify hypocrisy and the African myth surrounding sex. With a hundred thousand dollars up for grabs as the first prize the housemates went to the extreme doing those things the African society frowns upon. Those holed up in the magnificent edifice in a Johannesburg suburb as principal actors and actresses were daily given tasks to accomplish and every Sunday voters from across the continent voted via SMS in evicting housemates, at inception 12 (housemates) from 12 African countries.

Emergency couples emerged throwing home culture to the wind and embracing caution, sophistication and desperation in order to avoid eviction. For once evicted the road to fortune was closed. The only ‘couple’ that survived it all were Richard and Tatiana and they made a perfect pair. Tatiana’s boyfriend and Richard’s wife back home were complaining but their complaint was not enough to stop the relationship. Hedonism was in full display.

There are lessons the BBA taught us all in general. One: the world is evolving and we, as a people, cannot afford not to be part of the socio-cultural evolution and dynamism. Two: there is desperation in competition; when hard currency is involved, a life-transforming fortune, then be smart to outsmart your opponents. Three: the power of money cannot be over-emphasized. Four: ambition is not a crime and freedom lies in being bold. Richard won because he was ambitious and smart and bold.

The Tanzanian 24-year-old playboy knows he messed up and was ready to damn the consequences. Hear him speaking to pressmen in Jo’burg on his way home: “Yes, I have messed up. But I have to go on with my life. Whatever life brings I will take”. And the wife Ricki was not a happy woman when she said: “This whole fiasco has been stressful for me, and to be honest I didn’t really expect that it would be like this. I’ve got enough issues to deal with already, and spending time reading hurtful comments will do nothing for my wellbeing.”

The $100,000 richer Richard continued: “If there is an opportunity to talk, I will try and make Ricki understand why things happened the way they happened. To be frank with you, my marriage cannot be the same again. I am human just like all of you. This is not the first time I am saying this. The experience has made me realise that I am even more human than I had thought. Only you have not gone through what I have been through. I am a very caring person, loving person. And Tatiana was there. I noticed her. She was a beautiful woman. Just because that I am married I cannot appreciate beauty when I see it? That does not mean that I cannot get attracted to another woman. That does not mean if I see a pretty woman I would close my eyes. I am a human being just like you. Try to understand that. And things happened the way it is and I fell in love with her (Tatiana). All of you here can probably go through the same situation.”

The only area some people condemned the programme for was the public bathing of housemates. Even Rueben Abati kicked against this lewd early morning treat. But I disagree. Apart from the exposed breasts during shower time almost all the housemates wore pants. And the immediate surrounding of the bathroom was not that visible, it was dimly lit. The more you looked the less you saw.

In today’s world where baring-it-all is in vogue with clothes and tops (spaghetti et al) that seek to ‘place value’ on the boobs I wonder what the fuss was all about. Those saying that the BBA damaged the image of womanhood and exposed our children to some amoral behaviour had a point of course but one wonders whether they know what the internet is doing to our children’s psyches. Pornographic materials are not in short supply in the internet and often unsolicited porn materials and clips ‘invade’ one’s email account from God-knows-where.

When “TheNews” magazine in Lagos weeks back hit the newsstands with an investigative lurid story about night clubs in Lagos where fresh girls serve drinks and dance naked the ‘exposed’ clubs recorded a boom in business soon after the publication! Why? Because people want to discover new things romantic. Some married men and big men were among those ‘rushing’ to the named clubs to have a feel of the action, to see things for themselves.

The ‘Sun’ newspaper, the “Voice of the Nation” has a regular column called “Sungirl” where young girls (most of whom claiming to be students and displaying provocative seductive attires) have their profiles published. With email address and telephone numbers generously provided one sees the exercise as an avenue for the expression of freedom to be seen, known and heard. Nothing bad in that; the ‘Sun’ management team are winning a lot of women customers and readers by the day.

But beyond that that column is an avenue for prostitution. I tell you why: late last year before jetting out for Lagos end of January this year I had been communicating with a UNIBEN undergraduate whose published profile interested me. On arrival in Benin City I had given her a call and we booked an appointment. She came to my hotel and we ate and drank. As we were wining and dining I had asked her how many men had responded to her “self-advertisement” in ‘the Sun’ and she answered “thousands”. She almost walked out on me when I insisted knowing how many out of the thousands that had had a go at her. She became angry but muttered “very few” nonetheless! It was then it dawned on me that I was in a meeting with a glorified prostitute.

For me Richard, Ofunneka and Tatiana are heroes. The BBA, beside the economic drive of the proprietors, had sought to change the way we behave hypocritically as a people. Above all it seeks to empower one or two or three of our own with a fortune so great, a fortune so impactful that resistance to participate becomes difficult. Richard says he is starting his own television production as a moviemaker. With a capital of a hundred thousand dollars Richard has won a jackpot and his dreams has come to pass in his lifetime.

To the $100,000 richer Richard I say without any complex: Bravo! You are the BBA, the Bad Boy of Africa. Long live the Big Brother Africa show! And to sister Ofunneka I say you have achieved fame, you are beautiful, smile girl, smile!

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