Zimbabwe: Big Brother Africa, Mugabe and US$300,000

Big Brother Africa is a television show produced by Endemol in South Africa. The show, which has become the most popular TV reality show in Africa, entered its fifth season with Big Brother Africa All-Stars. After 91 days of stiff and exciting competition, Nigerian musician and actor Uti Nwachukwu was announced the winner of US$ 200,000. The final two housemates were Nigeria's Uti and Zimbabwe's Munya Chidzonga. Although Munya lost he ended up “winning” US$300,000. Follow Zimbabwean bloggers to know what happened.

After the results were announced, Zimbabweans cried foul over the voting system. They claimed that there was rigging in favour of the Nigerian finalist. A Zimbabwean businessman decided to set up a consolation fund for Munya who survived a record 9 times eviction. Through the consolation fund Munya ended up receiving a cheque of US$300,000 which was presented to him by President Mugabe.

After arriving home from South Africa, Munya met with President Robert Mugabe at State House for tea. He considers Mugabe his hero.

In a post titled “Mubage, Reality Show and US$300,000″ Musavengana Mhuri writes, “The mediocrity in the Leadership of Zimbabwe never siezes to amaze me nor does it surprise me”:

The mediocrity in the Leadership of Zimbabwe never siezes to amaze me nor does it surprise me. Munya Chidzonga comes second in the Big Brother Africa reality show and Mugabe rewards him with a cheque for USD300k. There has been a lot of talk and controvesy around this donation to Mr Chidzonga. I do not have anything against this young man he has “achieved” a lot in a very short space of time but USD300K for getting the 1st loser’s place in a reality show and for him to be rewarded so generously in a country ravaged by poverty and social injustices is just insane. In Zimbabwe some have dubbed this “compensation for depression”, as people who have made this possible for Mr Chidzonga set-up a trauma fund, they are scared the actor will spiral into depression.

Natasha Msonza reacts with a post titled, “Munya’s compensation for depression.” She says that the news of Munya's compesation demonstrated the ability of leaders to raise big amount of money in a short space of time:

When I watched the unprecedented meet with the president on the news yesterday, I was motivated to highlight that the kerfuffle around Munya and his subsequent reception of 300 thousand USD in ‘compensation fees to cushion him against depression’ served at least one good purpose for me; the opportunity to witness our leaders demonstrate their ability to raise big funds in a considerably short space of time.

One word from a flaky professor and another from an obscure land tycoon and just like that, on a whim, thousands were raised in less than a week. If this were to be done on a sustained basis for more meaningful things, imagine what that would do for our country’s development. Imagine what 300 thousand can do for the non-working traffic lights and potholes littering Harare’s streets; hundreds of needless deaths would be avoided. Imagine what a similar initiative would add to the lives of the displaced folk living and scavenging like animals at Borrowdale race course…

Andrew Kassa, a Nigerian student in the United Kingdom, says, “It was unfortunate that the Zimbabwean Government would dish out the sum of USD300,000 to a youngman who did not deserve it.”:

I am a Nigerian Student in the United Kingdom and have been following the Big Brother Africa Show for about 5 years now. That Uti Nwanchukwu won the USD200,000 (N30m naira) is a good development on his part and will go a long way to empower him economically. Two years ago, Ofuneke (a Nigerian) was the first runner up in the competition that saw a Tanzanian win the competition. The Nigerian President at that time did not compensate Ofuneke for loosing to Richard as it was of no consequence.

It was unfortunate that the Zimbabwean Government would dish out the sum of USD300,000 to a youngman who did not deserve it. That sum of money will go a long way in empowering the 100 Zimbabweans if they were given micro credits for their businesses. It could as well be used to procure medicine for primary healthcare in Zimbabwean Hospitals. This action goes a long way to show the level of mediocrity in the Leadership of your country. President Robert Mugabe has ruled the country in excess of 30 years and it not ready to quite.

“Let people use their money the way they want to,” says Jealous Down:

“A consortium of businessmen and friends in the corporate world have come up with a consolation fund that will give Zimbabwe’s representative and Big Brother Africa All Stars housemate, Munyaradzi Chidzonga US$300 000 for coming second in the reality show.
The consortium is headed by businessman, Philip Chiyangwa and Chairperson of the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board, Mr David Chapfika”

I did not read anywhere in the quote above that the money donated is from the Zimbabwean government. Let people use their money the way they want to. Just like you choose to donate or to buy a car for youself, or pay for your studies in the UK. Why did you opt to study in the UK and not in Nigeria so you can allocate the money you are using in the UK to micro credits?

Zimbabweans speak out (via sms sent to Kubatana):

Following Natasha’s blog about Munya, the Big Brother candidate who got more money from Phillip Chiyangwa for losing the competition than he would have gotten from the show had he won, we wanted to hear what other people thought about this.

We sent out this text message yesterday:

Kubatana! Munya from Big Brother gets US$300 000 for losing. Text us your opinion on him getting “compensation for depression.” www.kubatana.net

So far, we’ve gotten a number of responses, with opinion split among those who think Munya’s $300,000 reward was deserved, and those opposed to it. We share some of these responses below:

* Munya was not supposed to be given that money. Why? They are failures. How can they give Munya $300,000 while the country needs money?
* These are the end of days according to the bible. Saturn is creating new ways to grab people. Don’t be surprised!
* It’s amazing, I think that huge amount should have been given to teachers or orphans.
* Is it the same Munya who kissed and romanced another man in a movie. If a man can kiss another man and walk away $300,000 richer, those anti-gays must
* withdraw their words.
* He is a blood diamond friend somehow
* He has just put the country on the map of Africa but people must accept that he wasn’t robbed, he deserves what he gets. Let them avoid politicking.
* It’s good becuse he is patriotic to his nation.
* Something is amiss. Someone would want to use him to gain some milage politically or otherwise directly or indirectly sooner or later.

More reactions from Kubatana subscribers:

The feedback on Munya’s “compensation for depression” continues to pour in. Here are some more comments from our subscribers:

* Mugabe is a disgrace + proves he is Senile. The money cld feed starving children, not given 2 a LOSER like Munya.
* Kutambisa mari pane zvakawanda zvirikuda mari muzvipatara hazvisati zvaita.
* It’s good to keep our banner raised.
* Munya’s compensation 4 losing is very very unreasonable.
* Does it mean to say that Munya will pocket the whole cash just like that?
* Its more to do with his back ground. The mother is in government and the father is a well established business man. Im sure its a way of honouring the family.
* On my opinion that was excelent
* solidarity with munya not bad…may be extent yacho is the one to debate
* Zvakanaka bcoz BBA management was not fair on final results.
* wicked and imorality at its climax may god bless the poor, the sick, the homeless and the hungry
* He deserved mo coz dat waznt fair at all.at least BBA hz smthing 2 learn, & did u knw zimbabweans ar natural born ‘winners’ at global scale?
* Its of no use splashing cash on individual yet the nation is suffering
* They are wasting on compansating Munya, instead of donating to poor people, ophans and even civ cervants
* He deserve the price.let the organisers know that we are suprised by giving our loser a token of appreciation that is more than e winner.
* Where is that money coming from? Civil servants are not paid well.yu dont need to work to get money but to play with thozn power
* Thats nonsensical the loss is not compensatory. furthermore u can not claim that he was duped wen countries did not vote for him. do zanu pf wants to hold another big brother africa!
* It could be that he is connected to the good samaritens in some way.
* Munya was not supposed to be given that money ..why .they are failures .how can they give Munya 300 000US$ while the country need money. We need money to pay civil servants.

Is Big Brother Africa a Nigerian scam?:

BBA is a Nigerian scam and someone has to speak up and and Zimbabwe just did that. Munya deserves the money. I know Nigerians will post rubbish here but we, the Zimbabwean people are happy our boy was given that money which will help him to go ahead with his project also. It is not the state money but money raised by businessman in Zimbabwe. Why crtying about poor if the money would never be raised if it was not for Munya. So, should BB also give that money to the poor in Africa instead he waste in that house and give to Nigerians scammers.

Munya's reward was a good marketing strategy for the country:

Correct me if I’m wrong, that money didn’t come from government, but from business pple & individuals who have obtained the much needed publicity to further their businesses. the president just handed over the money. This was more of a marketing strategy, and good for the country, I think more investors are scratching their heads on how to start biz. in Zim.

Thandi Mpofu does not understand how “someone can be rewarded a ridiculous amount of money for sitting in a house for 3 months:

It is pure jealousy that has motivated the writing of this piece. Some young man has just been awarded a ridiculous amount of money for sitting in a house for 3 months. I know that I’ve achieved just as much, in fact, I’ve accomplished more, having been unemployed for over a year. Unfortunately for me there’s been no recognition, no pomp and fanfare, and no fat cheque!

Thandi believes that she could be a millionaire with her good looks and God-given abilities “If he [Munya] could become wealthy for displaying absolutely no talent…”:

However, watching the luck of this fellow unfold, I’ve realised that making money is very easy. If he could become wealthy for displaying absolutely no talent, then I conclude that, with my good looks and God-given abilities, I’ll be a millionaire in no time. So, given my aptitude for writing obscene amounts of drivel, I’ve figured that instant wealth will come to me if I write a soap opera. Why not? The plots don’t need much thought and it’s a billion dollar industry that I would like to be part of.


  • craig

    why are you people still hating Nigerians? Big Brother is a game and very transparent. Anyboby from any country would have won it if he or she played her/his cards well… Uti showed maturity, respect for women and i bet you, his vote might be all women coz we deserve to be treated right B)

    Mind you Nigeria is a rich country and trust them, with the opportunities they will open up for Uti, the sky will be his spring board……. check out Kevin!

    How many times has Brazil and Argentina won the cup? Africa think………

  • […] Uti last year. Zimbabweans claimed that there was rigging in favour of the Nigerian finalist. A Zimbabwean businessman decided to set up a consolation fund for Munya. Through the consolation fund, Munya ended up receiving a cheque of US$300,000 which was […]

  • […] fifth season of Big Brother Africa. Although he lost to Nigerian musician and actor Uti Nwachukwu, he ended up “winning” US$300,000. Zimbabweans cried foul over the voting system claiming that there was rigging in favour of the […]

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