It was on May 25, 2003, when Africa welcomed a reality TV phenomenon, Big Brother Africa.
It wasn’t the first time the show was screening on the continent, in fact, folks that could afford a DSTV connection had watched two Big Brother South Africa shows though they only left a negligible mark in Uganda.
However when the show went continental, the marketing strategy that both DSTV as the broadcasters and MTN as the sponsors put together was one that immediately made the show a hit.
For instance, almost on a daily, before the show premiered, MTN had an advert about the show, M-Net may have been prestigious at the time but they too came to Uganda and partnered with the biggest television station at the time, WBS (now Kwese sports).
Wavah’s station did a good job of popularizing the show thanks to the daily updates and the weekly eviction live shows.
With such an arrangement, Big Brother became the very first entertainment show to unite Africa, people picked camps and every week, a country evicted would back one that was still in.
Fifteen years later, a lot has changed with Big Brother, for instance South Africa, Nigeria and Angola have had independent editions and the shows have since become shorter among other things.
Unlike the original edition that lasted 106 days, the second edition went on for 98 days while the rest that have followed have run for only 91 days.
And of course even the contestants have since changed; The original Big Brother had 12 contestants from the same number of countries.
As the shows have gone on growing, the numbers have changed and seen countries bring on board more than one contestant and later more countries like Rwanda were brought into the show.
By Andrew Kaggwa