Big Brother Titans Is A Lesson In African Unity, Here’s What The Continent Must Learn

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When the organisers of Big Brother Titans, MultiChoice Nigeria, first spoke of a new iteration of Big Brother in September 2022, many immediately assumed there would be a lot of drama. As the premiere day loomed, there were more discussions and predictions about what to expect. In the middle of the conversations were drama, romantic triangles, and racial differences.

Big Brother Titans (BBTitans)
Ebuka Obi-Uchendu and Lawrence Maleka

Most expectations have been long satisfied with the added grace of a new unity between Nigerians and South Africans brought on by the show – inside and outside the house. Fans of the show have banded together, rooting for their favourites and ignoring country affiliations. Nigerians have South Africans as their favourite housemates and vice versa. Interestingly, it’s the same thing happening in the house. The connections were initially fuelled by romance and later by strategic partnerships.

Whether or not Big Brother intended to unify both countries in and out of the house by matching the housemates by different genders and countries, the mystical man has done just that. When Big Brother first announced the twist on week 2 of the show that he’d be pairing the housemates together, both the players and the viewers complained. No one could see how it would help anything.

Understanding this season’s history will show most readers how the pairing changed the game and, hopefully, viewers’ mindsets. The housemates stayed in their comfort zones in the show’s first week. They created friendships mostly with people from their own country and put up people from other countries for possible eviction. After the first nomination process, six out of the nine housemates placed on fake nominations were Nigerians, and the other three were South Africans. There was division in the house, and Big Brother’s pairing twist shook things up.

Nominations stopped being about the countries and became about how housemates would benefit from their nominated pair’s exit from the house. There were suddenly no geographical boundaries, and the game got more interesting. The housemates began to think more strategically, and unity bloomed.

Every evicted housemate said the same thing – they learned a lot from the other country’s cultures. The friendships they created were real, and parting would hurt. When Big Brother dissolved the remaining six pairs at the start of week eight, the house mourned as though they got divorced. They had gotten past surface-level issues like differences in tribes and cultures and reached the root of their partners – their personalities, kinks, uniqueness, and what true friendships meant to them.

However, it would be a misrepresentation to describe the pairing twist as all good, as it had some drawbacks to the game.

Housemates like Sandra who was paired with Theo Traw have been very vocal that they may have lasted longer in the game if they had a different partner. She told journalists in her post-eviction interview, “I feel like some people are the luckiest. I think the pairing favoured some people. They were lucky. Theo and I got into the house a few days ago, and I don’t think we had enough time. I feel the pairing was one of the major reasons for my eviction. I would have loved to be paired with other housemates like Juicy, Ebubu, and others.”

Her sentiment is understandable, especially in cases where the ballot paired those perceived to have a more assertive presence with those considered weaker. Fans also took to social media when JayKay (Jaypee and Lukay) got evicted to blame the pairing for Jaypee’s early exit from the house. Still, no empirical way exists to prove that any of those conjectures are true. Big Brother is almost as unpredictable as football, and there’s hardly ever any way to anticipate what could happen.

In 1997, Francis Deng wrote for Brookings, “ Today, virtually every African conflict has some ethno-regional dimension. Even those conflicts that may appear free of ethnic concerns involve factions and alliances built around ethnic loyalties.” Sadly, those words remain true over 25 years later. A December 2020 article in the Journal of African Economies also notes, “Over the last 40 years, nearly 20 African countries (or about 40% of Africa south of the Sahara (SSA)) have experienced at least one period of civil war. This state of affairs has created stereotypes of Africa as a doomed continent with inescapable ethnic cleavages and violent tribal conflict.”

Still, there are lessons about these ethno-regional conflicts that Africans can learn from the BBTitans pairings. First, tribe and race are the most minute things when you consider social realities. Culture makes people unique and should not be a yardstick for determining whether they are good or bad.

Secondly, it’s clear that if we forget tribal conversations and work together, we can achieve great things. The housemates won most of their wagers by working together, unlike the disaster they made of their first task when they still had misperceptions hinged on national differences.

A principal lesson for Africa – the most significant thing focusing on our ethnic diversities has given us as a continent is several wars. Embracing and celebrating our diversity while refusing to allow it to remain influential in making strategic decisions will bring us unity, allowing the continent to work successfully on projects like the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA). Africa will benefit from steady economic growth and increased living standards if we put aside ethno-regional differences like the BBTitans housemates did with the pairings.

However, now that the BBTitans pairs have become individuals again, it’s clear the game has just truly started. With only three weeks left in the competition, many surprises await the viewers. Right now, only Ipeleng has secured a guaranteed spot in the finals, and all other housemates will be scrambling to get their space on the coveted finale day. What would happen and who would make it remain to be seen, although the fans have their theories.

The drama-filled Big Brother Titans season continues till April 2, 2023, and airs 24/7 on DStv ch. 198 and GOtv ch. 29. For more information about Big Brother Titans, visit Flutterwave, LottoStar, and Bamboo are sponsors of Big Brother Titans.

The post Big Brother Titans Is A Lesson In African Unity, Here’s What The Continent Must Learn appeared first on Nigerian Entertainment Today.