10 August 2012

Namibia: Big Brothers Open Doors

Photo: Big Brother

So, the one and only show that had most people glued to their seats has finally ended and now it's back to normality and no more 24/7 channels dedicated to watching a group of fellow Africans staying lodged up in a house for 91 days together.

Many might argue that the Big Brother phenomenon and social experiment that has taken over for the last seven seasons is rather a waste of time and the whole idea of watching people go about their activities in a house doesn't make much logical sense.

This year, the stakes were raised and the grand prize stood at a whooping USD 300 000 (N$2,4 million) which, mind you, is no loose change. The season, probably the biggest in terms of numbers of housemates, made for good television. Namibia was represented by three housemates, the bubbly duo Jesica and Junia and celebrity housemate Lady May.

The three did what no other representative housemate has done before; they went into the game and made the Namibian flag fly high with their various personalities and characters.

We got to know people who we didn't know before and a lot more of Lady May that we never saw before considering many would say they know her only for her on-stage antics and shows.

Lady May did the country proud and seemed to have captured Africa's attention considering she was constantly nominated and week after week she was saved.

With that said, I have to express disappointment in the amount of effort that the housemates in terms of capitalizing on their experiences in the reality show.

If we look back - and I mean really look back - only a very small number have gone on to do something with themselves.

I have been trying to understand why this is the case and where exactly the problem is. There are various housemates in each season from various backgrounds and all are given the same opportunities in the house. The likes of Season 5 Winner from Nigeria, Uti, has gone on to have his own show; so has Zimbabwe's Season 6 housemate Vimbai with Star Gist , Malawi's Nic and not forgetting our very own Season 1's Stefan Ludik who has made music and acting work for him.

I would want to believe that two things happened in the case of these former housemates who have very much capitalized on their Big Brother experience: one, that they captured the attention of people out there who saw an opportunity to work with them or two, that they simply approached people and marketed themselves and got the jobs.

Often you would hear as was the case with all the past seasons if a housemate that had left the house was asked what their future plans are going to be, you would hear things like, they want to open up a business, they want to become TV personalities and they will make sure that they capitalize but surprisingly, one month down the line you would spot them going about their daily activities or be awarded the chance to exchange a hallo while standing in a queue to pay for groceries or at the petrol station.

I am by no means saying that even if they capitalize on their chances that this very thing wouldn't still happen; I am just still baffled at how our representatives seem to have failed at realizing the extent at which such an annual event can be used to market oneself and elevate one's status.

Former housemates include season two's Meryl, Season three's Lucille, Season four's Rene, Eddie and Erastus, Season five's Meryl who went back for the All Stars edition and then Season six's Jossy Joss and Bernadina

The show received record web views, smses and votes - not to mention scores of followers on the social networks Facebook and Twitter - and still housemates again don't realize the doors that such an opportunity can open.

The show will continue and many housemates will enter, some will win and some will go back to their normal lives and others will go on to make the show work for them and they will make the best of it.....till then Eewa!

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