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According to reports, the Housemates took their bathe together during what they called “Shower Hour,”

and while the boys stripped to their boxers, the girls bared everything, not just before the boys

whom they had never met until they were selected and confined in the Big Brother zoo

 

 

Big Brother Africa

Debasing Self For A Fee

 

By Ugochukwu Ejinkeonye

     

Recently, Big Brother Africa (BBA2) Reality Show ended in South Africa amidst much din, slimy scandals and lingering controversies, and the only coherent statement it was able to make was that in this our very unfortunate and bankrupt age, money has acquired an even greater and awesome powers, and its capacity to compel otherwise rational human beings to gleefully part ways with every bit of their honour and dignity, be disdainful all considerations for decency and self-esteem, and enthusiastically indulge in several nauseating, self-debasing acts, has exceeded what anyone had  thought was possible in decent society. 

I am not a fan of the Big Brother nonsense, and all such shows, like beauty pageants, where people are paid and cheered on to throw their honour and dignity as human beings to the dogs, to satisfy the depraved taste of irredeemable voyeurs. In fact, if there were no generous reports about these events in the media, which one occasionally glanced through, I may never have known that anything like BBA2 ever took place. But I am a grateful that I read some of those reports, because, it would never have occurred to me that some murky-hearted fellows, with excess cash to spend, could go all out to turn their fellow human beings into a little less than animals, confined in some glorified human zoo, where the most depraved among them could go as wild and immoral as he or she could, to dishonour and make a very big fool of himself or herself, before millions of TV viewers in Africa and beyond, in order to earn $100, 000. 

While this lure of lucre endures, do these fellows ever stop to think that the footage of their disgraceful outing in South Africa would survive tomorrow, and that they would have children and grandchildren whose sensibilities would be perpetually assaulted by the awful pornographic footages they were gleefully producing in their blind rush for $100,000?

According to reports, the Housemates took their bathe together during what they called “Shower Hour,” and while the boys stripped to their boxers, the girls bared everything, not just before the boys whom they had never met until they were selected and confined in the Big Brother zoo, but, also, millions of viewers out there, which may have included kids from their households and neighborhoods! (Forget the age-restriction crap). Imagine the kid brothers and sisters or tender nephews and nieces of the Housemates seeing their big aunties they once held in high esteem flaunting their stark nudity on the screen with every brazenness and shamelessness. What in the name of all that is decent and noble can we possibly call this?

Well, some of the girls, however, occasionally bathed with their underpants on, and only bared their chests, but that, no doubt, did not diminish the grave obscenity the whole thing still constituted.

Now how would these clearly bird-brained fortune hunters rejoin and face the same society before whom they had shamelessly and grossly cheapened themselves, by flaunting the pride of their womanhood before every willing eye? Should even  $1billion dollars be enough to compel anyone to do this? 

Indeed, Feminists and Women Rights activists would never protest this clear debasement of the woman, because this is not the kind of advocacy that attracts grants.  This should not be surprising to anyone because it is still from the same cabal that prosecutes these obscene shows that the major bulk of sponsorships flow.

Although virtually everything about BBA was horrible, revolting and scandalous, a consensus exists that the most horrible scandal it yielded, now popularly known as “fingergate,” reportedly, took place on Saturday, 27 October 2007. I first read about it on Nigerians In America, in an article by Ms. Bolanle Aduwo, a screenwriter,  broadcaster and producer.

Please permit me to quote her account of the obscene incident:

Biggie had provided plenty of booze (undiluted, Russian vodka) and what resulted was an incident that will definitely go down as one of the most scandalous moments in Big Brother history.  The housemates became crazed, drunken zombies and engaged in acts better suited for a porno movie. The evening eventually ended in what many call a possible rape! Or how do you explain the actions of Richard, the 24-year-old Tanzanian film student and the only male occupant of the House fondling and ‘fingering’ a comatose, blind-drunk Ofunneka, a 29-year-old Medical Assistant from Nigeria?…The whole of Africa saw this girl’s “privates”… What happened… horrified viewers as Richard lying between the two comatose women, undressed them and began to fondle, kiss and ‘finger’ both of them!”

This incident had provoked serious outrage across Africa. A Women Rights group in South Africa had called for the footage of the incident, only to announce later, after viewing it, that it agreed with MNET, that what happened between Richard and Ofunneka was consensual. Nigeria’s House of Representatives, groping for some form of self-redeeming tasks, after Ettehgate, had also waded into the matter, something I had thought was an entirely private misadventure between the girl and the South African prurient millionaires.

But why does it seem Africa has suddenly awakened from its moral slumber just because fingergate happened? Well, if you ask me, the matter is very simple: Even if there were no “fingergate,” all the people who participated in BBA2 had irremediably soiled their honour and dignity? What sort of girls would gleefully strip themselves nude, to bathe, not only in the full gaze boys, but also before more than one million TV viewers across Africa? (If the boys wore their shorts and the girls chose to bare everything, what kind of statement were they making about their gender?) Just the other day, while gathering materials for this piece, I stumbled on a blog where a photograph of Ofunneka was posted holding her towel apart and proudly baring her not particularly appealing chest for all to see! So, even without “fingergate,” was that not self-demeaning enough? 

On Monday, I visited a website, www.ofunneka.com, where all sorts of hate posts were heaped on the doorsteps of “Richard the rapist,” who “stole the crown.” All sorts of stories were dredged up to rubbish the Tanzanian, as if he did not rubbish himself enough while in the BBA zoo. But while countless sympathizers were out there condemning MNET for the indecent show and calling for Richard’s head for “sexually abusing” Ofunneka, the “innocent, well-behaved, but stone-drunk symbol of decent African woman,” the girl was at the other place addressing a press conference, apologizing for what happened and dismissing reports that she was raped. Saturday PUNCH of November 24, 2007, quotes her as saying: “I will say that I let down my guards a little, but then I am human.”

I am seriously touched by this girl’s predicament. It is painful to imagine that she might carry the shame of her disastrous BBA appearance all her life. It must be clear to her now that whoever counseled her into the BBA folly has done her a grave harm. The most noble job she must engage herself in now would be to always dissuade any other person she encounters to avoid BBA like a plague despite the money.

In this internet age, it should not surprise her that countless blogs would spring up tomorrow, attracting serious traffic to themselves with footages of “fingergate” and some of her nude pictures from Shower Hour at the Big Brother zoo. A costly mistake has already been made by going to the BBA house, and a costly price must be paid.

But, if by her own painful predicament, other young Africans are able to learn that it is practically impossible to safeguard one’s honour and dignity in such a morally bankrupt enclave like BBA house, created solely to promote obscenity and depravity, to service the vulgar tastes of prurient men and women, she should consider the sacrifice worthwhile. Who is even sure that “fingergate” was not scripted and directed by MNET, to diminish her rising profile in the media as the symbol of true African woman, which would have created serious problems for MNET when eventually Richard was declared “winner”?

By Richard's “victory”, what statement has MNET succeeded in making? That it was alright for a man who was married to suddenly “fall in love” with another woman he had just met on a reality TV show; engage in open and revolting adulterous acts with this new lover or concubine on satellite TV, knowing full well that his wife was at home watching; and then while in the same bed with his new lover, he engages in wild sexual acts with yet another woman, on the same bed! And after it all, according to a report in Namibian of October 29, 2007, he excitedly pronounces: “I have seen the rivers and mountains of Big Brother…I’m going to bump all the women in BBA house.” What a vulgar celebration of hideous conquests!

With all the nauseating exploits of Richard’s, which earned him the prize, what MNET is saying is that for anyone to win the next BBA (assuming this won’t be the last), he must simply become an animal like Richard, because it is only animals that win its price; yes, such a person must regard and treat women as mere playthings.

Now the point has also been regularly made, namely, why watch BBA if you know it would offend your mind? Indeed, amateur porn channels and websites like BBA abound, but they do not attract generous positive reviews from “serious” newspapers like BBA does. MNET can afford to inflict its violent obscenity only on interested viewers if it could check its invasion of our newspaper pages the way it does.

Nor should the government show more than a passing interest in shows like BBA, as the Nigerian House Assembly or the Federal Government did recently. Now, I have no problems with the Information Minister, Mr. John Odey, offering a job to Miss Ofunneka Molokwu, as he reportedly did the other day, if that would console her, but he has no right to declare that by appearing on that reprehensible show, she has “represented us well” and has, today, become “the Heart of Africa.”

No doubt, it must be clear to the minister that he was speaking himself, and I insist that he makes this clear immediately. In fact, President Umar Musa Yar’Adua must call him to order before he uses the stain of BBA to further rubbish his ailing regime. On no account must the Federal Government appear to endorse such a horribly obscene show that has offended many decent people in Africa and has even been banned by some African governments.

Mr. Odey, since he had excess time to squander, should have merely consoled the girl, assuaged her pain over the BBA misadventure, but more importantly, used that opportunity to urge other Nigerians youths to shun such shows no matter the huge prize money they dangle, if they do not wish to encounter such tragedies like “fingergate.” And I think I am right.

scruples2006@yahoo.com  /  www.ugochukwu.blog.com  Thursday, 06 December 2007

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Salvage the Bones

A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

On one level, Salvage the Bones is a simple story about a poor black family that’s about to be trashed by one of the most deadly hurricanes in U.S. history. What makes the novel so powerful, though, is the way Ward winds private passions with that menace gathering force out in the Gulf of Mexico. Without a hint of pretension, in the simple lives of these poor people living among chickens and abandoned cars, she evokes the tenacious love and desperation of classical tragedy. The force that pushes back against Katrina’s inexorable winds is the voice of Ward’s narrator, a 14-year-old girl named Esch, the only daughter among four siblings. Precocious, passionate and sensitive, she speaks almost entirely in phrases soaked in her family’s raw land. Everything here is gritty, loamy and alive, as though the very soil were animated. Her brother’s “blood smells like wet hot earth after summer rain. . . . His scalp looks like fresh turned dirt.” Her father’s hands “are like gravel,” while her own hand “slides through his grip like a wet fish,” and a handsome boy’s “muscles jabbered like chickens.” Admittedly, Ward can push so hard on this simile-obsessed style that her paragraphs risk sounding like a compost heap, but this isn’t usually just metaphor for metaphor’s sake. She conveys something fundamental about Esch’s fluid state of mind: her figurative sense of the world in which all things correspond and connect. She and her brothers live in a ramshackle house steeped in grief since their mother died giving birth to her last child. . . . What remains, what’s salvaged, is something indomitable in these tough siblings, the strength of their love, the permanence of their devotion.—WashingtonPost

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The White Masters of the World

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Ancient African Nations

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posted 7 December 2007

 

 

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