The organisers of Big Brother Africa season 9 have unveiled profiles of the participants who would be competing in the chase for the grande prize of $300, 000. This edition, tagged Hotshot, will feature participants from across Africa. Here are the first nine official contestants.
Actor, radio drama director and MC, Alusa, from Nairobi, Kenya, is married and has three children. The 33-year-old’s favourite food is ugali with chicken stew and traditional vegetables. His favourite book is TD Jakes’ He-Motions and he likes watching National Geographic, The Exes and Nigerian movies on TV. On the music front, he enjoys listening to Sauti-Sol, Mafikizolo, P.Square, Youssou N’Dour and Salif Keita. One of his favourite films, Training Day, features one of his favourite actors, Denzel Washington.
Describing himself as “ambitious, spiritual, out-spoken, generous and mysterious”, Alusa likes people who are “detailed” and who have a good sense of humour, because he likes to laugh. He doesn’t enjoy people who “emit negative energy”.
He entered Big Brother Hotshots for the exposure, as well as the intrigue of living with total strangers in a closed environment and the desire to share his lifestyle with a huge audience. Alusa is looking forward to having the continent watch him: “I’m an artist, a performer, so I love attention,” he says. “I’m not in the least bit intimidated; in fact, I’m thrilled.”
Alusa lists Mombasa and his village of Kakamega as his favourite places in Kenya, because they’re both very exotic in their ways and rich culture. He says the best thing about Africa is the people. “Africans are both beautiful in form and diverse culture,’ he says. Outside of Africa, his favourite place is Brazil. “Rich culture, beautiful women, sweet samba music, festivals, food – I could go on and on.”
Ellah is a 23-year-old sales assistant with a B.Sc. in Business Computing from Nsambya, Uganda. She lists her favourite foods as ravioli, rice and chicken, and her favourite books as Think Like A Man, Act Like A Lady; and Nice Girls Don’t Get Rich. She enjoys watching reality shows like Real Housewives of Atlanta, New York and Orange County. Her favourite singers include India Arie, August Alsina, Beyonce, Rihanna and Sam Smith.
Her favourite place in Uganda is the Lake Bunyonyi Resort and she says the best thing about Africa is “the warmness of the people”. Outside of her home country, she says Cambodia is “a hidden gem and somewhat a free country”. Ellah has 12 brothers and sisters and says her mum is her role model: “Her strength and character captivate me”.
Ellah is most proud of having become Miss Uganda 2013/14 because “it was a stiff competition and a strong test for me”. She was inspired to enter Big Brother Hotshots because of the fact that it “unites Africa and also is a platform for me to advance”. She says she’s “super excited and is looking forward to being on the show”.
She describes herself as “charismatic, bitchy, outspoken, loving and sophisticated”, and says that she’s strong and determined. She values honesty, charisma and joyfulness in others, but dislikes lies and fakeness. If she wins the grand prize, Ellah will buy cars for her mum and invest the rest in real estate.
Butterphly, 24, is a Radio, Television Presenter and Producer from Harare. She lists her favourite foods as meat, pasta with cheese, black-eyed peas and eggs. Her favourite books include the Bible, The Firm, The Long Goodbye, and the Sherlock Holmes series. She likes to watch Chopped, 24, Intelligence and Big Brother Africa.
Butterphly entered Big Brother Hotshots because she’d always wanted to be part of a national sports team but never got the chance. “Being on Big Brother Africa will allow me to take the opportunity to market myself and expand my brand”. She says she won’t use “backstabbing and cheating” or immoral and unethical methods to get the prize. If she wins, she’ll send her sister, brother and kids to really good schools, start a chain of unique food, social and fashion hangout joints and take her mum shopping.
Describing herself as “unique, feisty, mysterious, fun-loving and witty”, Butterphly says that people are always shocked when they discover that sshe’s humble, compassionate and kind. She likes other people with a sense of humour, honour and truthfulness, and dislikes “dishonesty and people who pretend to like a person”.
Her mum is her role model: “She put her life on pause so ours could play. She’s the hardest-working woman I know.” Butterphly says she draws influence from “all sorts of people” – ordinary, young, dead, legends – in everyone’s life story. I try to extract important lessons like resilience, faith, strength etc. I learn as much as I can from the people I meet or read about.”
A student of Fine Arts, 22-year-old Goitse hails from Mahalapye in Botswana. “Home, Sweet Home” is her favourite place, she says – “the comfort, a home-cooked meal and my family just makes it my favourite.”
She says the best thing about Africa is its history: “It’s so rich with history of what our forefathers have gone through”. South Africa is her favourite place outside of Botswana because she has “met great people there who have become family. They also have a range of interesting official languages”, which are similar to those in Botswana.
Goitse says she entered Big Brother Hotshots for the adventure. “People from different countries in Africa, all under one roof, no contact with the outside world in any way? Now, that’s amazing!” she says. In her quest for the prize, she won’t pretend to be someone she’s not and if she wins, she’ll use the money to open a dance studio. “That will be a dream come true,” she says. “I haven’t decided on what else”.
She says her mom is her role model because she’s a “fighter and a survivor”. “She’s been through a lot of hardships, but she stands tall and strong. She always pushes me to be the best I can be, no matter how challenging it can get”.
Goitse describes herself as “carefree, free-spirited, fun, energetic and motivated”.
Pint-sized student Esther, 23, hails from Uganda’s Nsambya . She says she entered Big Brother Hotshots to connect with people from different countries, and to expose her talents, something she sees as “a very big inspiration”. Looking forward to giving Africa the chance to see her “true self”, she describes herself as “meek, bubbly, creative, truthful and loving”. Esther likes the fact that she’s “bubbly, friendly and outgoing”.
Her favourite foods are mashed potato and chicken tikka masala. Her favourite book, Rich Dad, Poor Dad. Her favourite musician, Rihanna. She likes The Wendy Williams Show and her favourite actress is Zoe Saldanha. Esther says that Jinja is her favourite place in Uganda, which she describes as ‘the pearl of Africa’. Outside of her home country, she sees California as “the place of dreams and fun”.
The most influential person in Esther’s life is her brother Fred, because “he has been there for me and he always will be”.
Esther promises viewers “unique skills, entertainment and being myself always”. If she wins, she plans to invest some of the money, donate some to charity, and support her family and career.
Idris is a photographer from Arusha in Tanzania. His favourite books all those written by Dan Brown, and he enjoys watching The Colbert Report, Drunk History, The Daily Show and The Ellen Degeneres Show on TV. His musical tastes are quite varied: Chris Brown, Michael Jackson, Usher, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Lana Del Ray and Nina Simone are his favourites.
The 21-year-old says he doesn’t have one specific role model, choosing instead to take the best from every successful person he meets. That said, his mum has influenced his life most. He’s most proud of the respect he’s earned by showcasing his skill and creativity in photography.
“I was inspired to enter Big Brother Hotshots because I want to inspire people and make a name for myself in the process,” he says, adding that he feels “thrilled, excited and accomplished, totally special that the continent will be watching him on the show and describes himself as “smart, charming, funny, flirty and creative.”
Born in Accra, Kacey Moore is 29, a married poet and songwriter, with a daughter. He enjoys banku and okro stew and says his favourite books are the Bible, the dictionary, and the thesaurus! Kacey Moore also likes the music of Usher and Lauryn Hill.
Kacey Moore describes himself as a go-getter, as well as a “leader, creator and voice”. His favourite quality is punctuality, which he says is important to him in both himself and others.
He entered Big Brother Hotshots as a “business decision”, seeking to expose himself to the rest of the world. Kacey Moore promises viewers “a real person with no fakeness”. If he wins the grand prize, he’ll buy houses for his wife and mother and set up a recording studio so he can record and release his own album under his own label.
Bachelor of Arts and Social Sciences graduate Laveda was born in Dar Es Salaam. She is 23, single and describes herself as “eccentric, loving, caring, simple and fun”. Laveda is the eldest of three children and she has a younger brother and sister. She says her mum is her role model, because she has moulded her over the years and inspired her in different ways “through the struggles and joy of life”.
Laveda says her favourite foods are pasta and minced meat, and prawns. She loves to read John Grisham’s novels and enjoys the music of Shakira, D’Banj, Miriam Makeba, P.Square, Rihanna, Beyonce, Tiwo Savage, Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Brenda Fassie. She’s a mean entertainer herself; she plays the saxophone, sings, acts and dances and thinks she is a “potential” presenter. Laveda’s favourite movies include The Notebook, Titanic and Avatar.
She entered Big Brother Hotshots to be a role model and act as a voice for African youths. Laveda says that viewers can expect “massive entertainment” from her and that if she wins, she’ll give her mum some money, “surprise disadvantaged children”, travel and invest the rest.
JJ, 23, calls himself “an entertainer” on the back of his work as a “singer, rapper, actor, songwriter and director”. His inspiration behind entering Big Brother Hotshots is the platform the show provides. “It’s a necessary foundation for me to be able to produce my own music even if I don’t win the money,” he says.
He says that viewers can expect to be entertained, and that they’ll also have a gym partner every morning. If he wins the money, he’ll fix up his parents’ house, invest in his career by working on his first international album and giving some money to charity.
JJ loves Italian and Japanese food; his favourite book is Shakespeare’s Macbeth and his favourite TV show is Elementary. His favourite musicians are JP Cooper, Stevie Wonder, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West and MiCasa’s J.Something. His all-time favourite films are 300, The Vow and American Gangster, with his favourite actor, Denzel Washington.
He believes that the best thing about Africa is that “the people are all full of life”. His favourite place in Zimbabwe is Inyaga, and outside it, Manchester in England, “home of the greatest football club and where I found my feet and my passion”, he says.
The ninth season of Africa’s biggest reality TV show, Big Brother Africa (BBA), will begin on October 5 despite a recent fire outbreak.