Big Brother- What You Didn’t See On TV

A jumble of ululation and booing! That is what best describes the mood last Sunday evening at Sasani Studios in Johannesburg, South Africa; when Nigeria’s Karen Igho and Zimbabwe ‘s Wendall Parsons were announced winners of sh520m each – the grand prize of this year’s televised M-NET reality show, Big Brother Africa Amplified.

The studio was packed to the rafters with Big Brother fans as well as friends and family members of the 26 contestants this year featured (the 19 previous evictees attended).

Immediately Karen and Wendall were announced, shrill ululation and booing tore through the air. Ululation because they celebrated 27-year-old Karen, whom they thought was the worthy winner owing to the fully-fledged entertainment her hyper personality gave Africa.

The booing disregarded Wendall’s win, for he was the most boring of the seven finalists, with nothing worth writing home about.

In fact, while still on the show, many regarded Wendall as part of the furniture, never in the least imagining him a likely winner.

The mainly South African crowd did not pretend about its feelings. After chanting “no way, no way, no way” in protest of Wendall’s win, they launched into “Luclay, Luclay, Luclay “, suggesting they had their own winner in Luclay, the South African contestant who came third having got two country votes – South Africa and Botswana.

Not even the sudden entrance by anti-riot police stopped them from chanting Luclay’s name. It was just as well the situation did not escalate.

But Africa had decided. Karen, who was jobless before Big Brother, had turned millionaire in just three months, with six country votes – five from the participant 14 countries, one from the other countries with no representatives on the show.

She had Ghana , Angola , Tanzania, Nigeria , Mozambique and the rest of Africa.

The stories of how she and her mother have for years hustled to earn a living will be no more. No wonder her mother, who also attended the finale, was in tears at the life-changing announcement.

At a press conference shortly after the finale, Karen mentioned how she lost her father to HIV/AIDS, and promised to use her prize money to fix the lack that her father’s departure left behind.

As for Wendall well, he was already a well-to-do kid before Big Brother, for at 24 years, he is a pilot. In fact, he did not in the least look shocked by the win.

At the press conference, he wore the air of ‘been there done that’ – not that journalists were really interested in him. Many snubbed him, concentrating on the feisty Karen.

During a session to take pictures with the winners, some only took with Karen.

Once in a while, a lone question went to Wendall – and it was to ask him how it felt sitting next to a winner with six votes against his paltry four – Zimbabwe , Namibia , Kenya and Zambia.

While some contend that the establishment rigged in his favour, general consensus held that it was the power of social networking and massive ‘deployed voting’ engineered by Wendall’s family back home that drove the numbers for the Zimbabwean.

Our Sharon Salmon Nalukenge, who made fifth, placing one of Uganda’s best performances in the reality show’s six seasons, got only the Ugandan vote.

Kenya and Tanzania, which many thought would vote Sharon due to her East African Community attachment, showed no love

Her father, Joe Salmon, a travel agent and mother, Bank of Uganda’s Rebecca Sebuyira; were there to console our girl who, by making it to the finale, bagged sh26m, just like all the other six finalists. Malawi’s Lomwe emerged 4th, Ethiopia ‘s Hanni sixth and Nigeria ‘s Vina seventh.

Karen’s win marks the third time the jackpot is going to Nigeria after their Kevin Chuwang won Big Brother Revolution (Season Four) and Uti Nwachukwu won Big Brother All Stars (Season Five). Wendall’s win is the first for Zimbabwe.

At the after party

Away from the winners, the after-party was the other thing to write home about.

Held at The Venue in Johannesburg, it brought together a number of the past contestants who rubbed shoulders with the present, as well as artistes like Fally Ipupa, Mo Cheddah and Wizkid who performed at the party and the finale.

And oh, there are some Big Brother babies on the way. My lense caught a very pregnant Big Brother Revolution couple Queen (South Africa) and Jen (Mozambique).

They said they are six months, and that Nigeria’s Kevin and Elizabeth, who also started their romance from Revolution, are due next month.

Remember Mwisho, the Tanzanian who got engaged to Namibia’s Meryl in Big Brother All Stars? They too are expecting.

Also, after witnessing Luclay’s mum throw a tantrum at a security officer who had denied her access to her son (she smokes as well), I now know better than to complain about Luclay’s erratic behaviour.

Interestingly though, his girlfriend is so calm.

Meanwhile, our Ernest Wasake and Tanzania’s Bhoke took the advantage of the reunion at the finale to pick up with their romance where they had left off when they got evicted.

The beauty told me she is coming to Uganda for Ernest’s birthday on August 15.


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