Ghana has been part of the Big Brother Africa brand since the first episode and the number of followers and the level of interest has surged as the years went by. The show is all about performance which translates into good returns for the producers who rely on ratings to get even financially – and over the period, the performances of Ghanaian representatives have been appreciable.
The Ghanaian following of the show has grown to the level where any form of agitation or misgivings expressed by them concerning the show pricks the attention of the producers of the show.
When news of a recasting done by Endemol (producers of the show) as a result of the Ebola-scare hit the nation, many avid followers of the show scoffed at the move by the organizers. Even after a seemingly germane reason was released by the producers for their decision to do another audition in South Africa for a Ghanaian representative; showbiz pundits again sneered at the decision –raising questions about the pronouncement.
To be brusque and bland; Endemol has indeed inconvenienced the selected Ghanaians who were chosen in Ghana and were all prepped to go through the final selection exercise in South Africa and they ought to be compensated but on the assertion that, a recasting was done due to Ebola and the organizers are being smart by giving another reason; that argument is groundless and must be shut down.
Before anyone sounds the amber alert, Endemol has given us a genuine reason for their decision and that should hold; after all, if indeed, their so-called infamous decision was based on the virus, they would have said so without any trepidation or for fear of some perceived backlash from Ghanaians.
Last week, according to AFP report, South Africa issued a travel ban for non-citizens from Ebola-hit countries including Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone; so, if the main reason for side-stepping on the auditions in Ghana was Ebola-driven, the producers would have stated it emphatically without looking over their shoulders.
The other complaint raised by some Ghanaians on the decision is that; once the eventual representative for Ghana is not based in Ghana, viewers of the show cannot relate to that character and that might affect the enthusiasm, fervour and interest Ghanaians will attach to the show – which might cause the early exit of the person. This argument is implicitly wrong!
Big Brother Africa has nothing to do with popularity, nothing whatsoever to do with a representative being known or not; it is always about performance. How exciting the person is, how alluring the person is and his/her ability to cause viewers to tune in and watch and how the fellow’s intriguing nature is able to generate lots of talking points for the show – are most important. That’s all the attributes a housemate needs to survive and excel in the reality show.
In Big Brother Africa 1, Sammy B was extremely popular at the time he entered the house, he was well-known and Ghanaian viewers could relate to his character but his popularity could not save him; he was the sent home early.
In Big Brother 6, Confidence Haugen was one of our representatives and was overly popular than any other housemate to ever represent the Country but her below-par performance in the house placed her in the wrong books of her fellow housemates and viewers and she was booted out early.
Eazzy was an equally popular figure when she entered the house to participate in the seventh edition of the show but her fame and whatever influence she had on Ghanaian viewers did nothing for her. Her abysmal performance did the talking and ensured that her stay in the house was short-lived.
In contrast, per the records on Ghana’s participation and performance in Big Brother, the very unknowns were the bunch that excelled in the completion.
Alex Bomaye was a character a lot of Ghanaians had little or no knowledge of, but his performance in the house ensured that he went into the annals as one of our best performers in the completion.
Keitta was never known; even when he was revealed to be Reggie Rockstone’s brother, we still could not relate and it had to take such an arduous PR exercise by the popular big brother to galvanize support for him but that notwithstanding, Reggie’s clout and fame did nothing for Keitta; he went far because of his performance in the house and that same act sent him home.
Elikem stands tall as Ghana’s best ever contender in the reality, going all the way to the final during the last edition. However, apart from a scant number of industry person who knew him, the majority of Ghanaians had no hunch on who he was until he entered the house. His exemplary performance simply ensured his longevity in the house and almost landed him the ultimate prize.
It is quite bewildering why some BBA fanatics and industry experts would even articulate such ill-feelings towards the organizers for choosing somebody in South Africa. The most important thing is that; whoever has been chosen to represent Ghana is a Ghanaian and besides, what was the guarantee that the person who would have been chosen from the Ghana auditions is a known or popular figure?
Known faces, relationships and connections to Ghanaians at home does little for one’s ability to excel or falter in the house. One’s ability to relate well with his/her housemates will ensure his/her escape from nominations and his/her knack to enthrall viewers across Africa will ensure the person’s long stay and eventual annexation of the ultimate prize.
We should all rally support for whoever will be introduced at the opening of the show as Ghana’s representatives; who knows, one of them could end up being our best performer of all time.