Karen’s day of glory

At home she is not the quiet type, her siblings need not argue with her because she will always stand her ground, her mother may not be too comfortable with that kind of attitude yet she but she sees the potentials in it. In spite of this, her friends like her for being always herself.

Welcome to the world of Karen Igho, one of the winners of this year’s edition of the Big Brother Africa reality TV show, ‘Big Brother Amplified’.

During the 13 weeks (91 days) she spent in the Big Brother House in Johannesburg, South Africa, she lived her life as though she was home with her siblings and friends. That probably was her winning strategy as African viewers only cast their votes to save those who live up to the reality of the show-by just being herself without living in pretence. Her naughtiness in the house posed the biggest contest for other 25 housemates from 14 African countries for the whopping Big Brother $200,000 prize money each for two winners.

If you followed the show from the day one on May 1, 2011 when it was launched, till the 90th day when the hearts of the Top Seven housemates were beating uncontrollably because of the tension pilling up for the grand finals, Karen was still her old self. She refused to change. She was the naughty Nigerian housemate that almost bares her body, that kept involving in many romantic escapades in the houses, she was also jealous when other female housemates went after her male spec, quarreled, disagreed, argued, openly expressed her displeasure, contested, and what have you.

In all these she still has a heart of gold. She loved, laughed, cried, apologised for her wrong doings, showed affection and most importantly, sacrificed her chances of winning the prize money when she nominated herself instead of a fellow housemate when she was the house leader.

Probably that was why Africa saved her. “I can’t be you. I am Karen and everybody who comes across me knows that. Why live like you as if my life is inferior”, Karen queries during an interview shortly after her victory in South Africa.
While African viewers may be far from this reality, her fellow housemate especially the likes of South African Luclay, Zeus, Weza, Millicent and Lomwe will attest to her strong and real personality.

While making her way to the venue that on that Sunday final show, her grace and confidence that were raved up by the cheering crowd confirm her acceptance. Even the confidence with which she greeted the audience, the joy and jumping at seeing her mother and her usual naughty looks and cheers at evicted housemate who congregate to crown the winner all set her aside as the chosen one.

When ask by IK, the anchor of the show since its launch this year on how she was feeling, the confidence in her voice and her very settled mind were evident of her strong and real character.

On the announcement that declared her first winner, she simply broke down in tears, while white Zimbabwean Wendell Parson, the second winner of the $200,000, did not show much enthusiasm over his victory. “I am grateful to you Africa for seeing me through this far”, she said while still surprised at her new status as a millionaire. If care to know, her father died of HIV/AIDS, and she is dedicating part of the money to healthcare delivery starting with her immediate community in Nigeria and hopefully Africa at large.

Truly, Wendell’s announcement dried the cheerfulness and enthusiasm of the audience who thought that Luclay, the South African housemate was robbed of his victory by the 23-year old white Zimbabwean commercial pilot.

However, a little protest followed shortly at the venue by Luclay’s home fans whose action almost marred the show but for the tight security provided by South African Police and other security outfits. But Biola Alabi, managing director, M-Net Africa, cleared the air on the controversy and replayed to the African media how the entire continent voted. Kazren won with six countries votes, Wendell won with four while Luclay has two-South Africa and Botswana. Yet, the aggrieved South African fans still smelt foul play with the winning of Wendell. Some thought Big Brother used that to compensate Zimbabwe for the loss of Munya, the Zimbabwean housemate, in last year’s edition to Nigerian Uti Nwachukwu, the eventual winner.

The success of 27-year-old Karen is the third consecutive time Nigeria is winning in the highly competitive show, while South Africa, the host country is yet to win since six years the show commenced. That probably explained why the South African fans were angry at the turn of the event, but the reality is that they did not vote as much to keep their countryman flying to a victorious finish.


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