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Africans riveted by upcoming final vote on 'Big Brother Africa'


By Wade Paulsen, 09/05/2003 

The New York Times reports that Africans are glued to their TV sets -- if they have them -- to watch this Sunday's finale of Big Brother Africa. Although less than 1 in 20 of Africa's 900 million inhabitants own a TV set, it is estimated that around two-thirds of those (or 30 million) are watching BBA, which takes place in a house in South Africa. BBA has been the primary topic of conversation throughout the English-speaking parts of the continent, which is also where most of the TVs are located.

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Some politicians and religious leaders have been vehement in their criticism of the show, which featured an on-air sexual relationship. Malawi's parliament banned the show, but the ban was later overturned by the country's highest court. Namibia's president asked the country's TV station to pull the show -- buit it refused. An Ugandan church leader even prayed for the Ugandan contestant to be booted in an effort to stem the show's popularity. Apparently God wasn't listening, as Uganda's Gaetano has reached the final five and remains a national hero.

All the criticism hasn't cut down the interest in the finale one bit. After Namibia's Stefan, the only Caucasian among the original 12 hamsters, was booted by viewers last week in a showdown with Zimbabwe's Tapuwa and Tanzania's Mwisho, the final five hamsters are headed for elimination one-by-one on Sunday until the winner is announced.

Along with Gaetano, Tapuwa and Mwisho, the other finalists are Warona (Botswana), who was Stefan's closest ally, and Cherise (Zambia) -- the current leader in the audience popularity poles, according to the Daily News of South Africa. Personally, we think Gaetano still has the edge -- but then again, we note that Mwisho was nominated for booting four times and survived them all, so he can't be counted out. The big winner, though, is Endemol -- the producers-owners of the Big Brother concept. Look for more multinational Big Brother games in the near future.









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