Big Brother: Tale of contrasting tales


Recently, MultiChoice Africa launched Big Brother Naija reality TV show. 12 housemates were unveiled and ushered into the house by the show’s host, Ebuka Obi- Uchendu.

Fans of the reality show across the continent were introduced to Bally, Bisola, CoCoIce, Efe, Gifty, Kemen, Marvis, Miyonse, Soma, TBoss, ThinTallTony and Uriel, all talented young people from different walks of life, who will be competing for N25 million over the next 11 weeks.

Ironically, it has been two years since Big Brother Africa took place. Out of all the nine seasons of Malawi’s participation, no participant won the reality contest.


Buried memories

It was a very exciting day for Malawi when M-net announced that the first season of Big Brother Africa, featuring twelve housemates from 12 different African countries including Malawi, would be premiered to audiences in 42 African countries on Sunday, May 25 2003, and, that the show would end on September 7 of the same year, lasting 106 days.

Basically, this was the first time in the world that the internationally famous programme was created using participants from one continent.


The first season of this show saw Malawi sending Zein Dudha, a then 27-year-old marketing manager from Blantyre. Unfortunately, Zein became the second person to be evicted from the Big Brother house on July 6 2003, lasting about 42 days in the house.

This was devastating news for Malawi but, since it was the first time for the country to participate in the reality show, everyone who followed Big Brother then understood that it was because Malawi was not fully exposed to such shows and therefore needed time to learn the ropes on how to survive in the house.

The first season saw Cherise Makubale from Zambia walking away with the grand prize of $30,000 while Malawi’s representative got nothing.

After the first season of Big Brother Africa, there were three years of silence, for there was no show conducted.

Excitement reigned again in 2007 when Big Brother season two returned with Code Sangala, a 34-year-old Radio DJ, representing Malawi in the reality show.

Sangala showed improvement as compared to Zein, even though he was also evicted after staying in the house for about 77 days. He was the eighth housemate to be evicted.

It proved to be another frustrating experience for Malawi since the winner turned out to be Richard Bezuidenhout from neighbouring Tanzania.

Even though Malawi did not make it to the finals, there was hope since it was only the second time for Malawi to participate in the game.

Season three came, again with a lot of hope for Malawi to walk away with the grand prize and everyone was curious to know if Malawi stood a chance to win.

Hazel Warren, Malawi’s representative that year, gave the country false hope as she was among the finalists. Hazel finished in second place on day 91 after a close vote result between her and Ricco. Malawi’s representative received 38.60 percent of the votes to Ricco’s 38.80 percent.

The loss to Angola’s representative Ricardo Venancio was so throbbing for Malawi, as well as Hazel, because she was very close to winning for the difference was too narrow.

However, even though Hazel failed to win the jackpot, the saw a future representative bringing the money home since people saw that if Hazel came close to winning then it was possible to win.

In no time, Big Brother season four came. Malawi saw Muzamose Chibambo representing the country in the reality show. However, it was the same, old story as Muzamose could not bring the money home despite being among the finalists.

Code represented Malawi again in the fifth season but did not win the reality game show as he lasted 77 days in the house.

Malawi’s hope to ever win in this competition begun to slowly fade when the sixth season saw both Felicia Ngoma and Tendai Namate, popularly known as Lomwe, evicted on day 56 and day 91, respectively.

Then, in the nick of time, season seven came and, again, Malawi’s representatives saddened the nation. This season saw Watipatso Kulemeka taking sixth place among the finalists whereas Alinafe Kulemeka was evicted on day 56.

Little by little time elapsed and season eight came. Malawi’s two representatives were evicted before even reaching the finals. Fatima Nkata was evicted on day 42 whereas Natasha Tonthola was evicted on day 47.

Season nine took its toll with Masuzgo Msiska, popularly known as Mr. 265, and Sipherile Chitambo (Sipe) representing Malawi. They might have tried but nothing fruitful came out of the season for Malawi.

However, looking at Malawi’s path in big brother since 2003, whether Big Brother Africa was to return or not, there are slim chances of winning.

Moreover, it is only Nigeria which has managed to win three times and the rest of the countries that won the reality show have each won once.

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