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Where are they now? Big Brother Africa Season 1 housemates

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When the Big Brother reality TV phenomenon took over the world, Africa was not spared. Thanks to M-net and Endemol, my family caught the bug early in 2001 with Big Brother South Africa. With larger than life characters, as well as a prying and eloquent host, Mark Pilgrim, we witnessed two seasons of fun, unpredictable television. A crazy Ferdi won season one while another crazy housemate, Richard, won the second season.

In 2003, Endemol took it further and launched what would later become a continental phenomenon, Big Brother Africa. The first season began on May 25, 2003 with 12 contestants from Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Namibia, Kenya and Malawi. Again, Mark Pilgrim was the host. Unlike its predecessors, Big Brother Africa ended on September 7, 2003 after 106 days, with the rather well behaved Cherise Makubalo from Zambia being crowned the very first winner of the show.

So 18 years after the first season of what has been without a doubt Africa’s most-watched reality TV franchise, I decided to do an update on the character we loved or hated to watch. What have the orginal Big Brother Africa housemates been up to? Well here it goes!

Abby (South Africa)

Abergail Brigette Plaatjies

Abergail Brigette Plaatjies

When Abergail Brigette Plaatjies entered the show, she was a fraud consultant from Johannesburg and Durban, South Africa. Abby became the fifth person to be evicted from Big brother Africa on August 17, 2003. After the show, she followed her passion of acting, radio and TV, which have seen her taking up jobs across the continent. The mother of 2 is a media entrepreneur, radio co-host, actress and MC. She is also a brand ambassador for Belaire.

Alex (Kenya)

Alexander Kasembeli Holi

Alexander Kasembeli Holi

Alexander Kasembeli Holi was a 21-year-old student from Nairobi when he entered the show. He became the third person to be evicted from show, on July 20, 2003, largely due to his abrasive personality. Alex played rugby for a while after the show and went quiet. In March 2017, he resurfaced when he tied the knot to his longtime girlfriend Joey Richard, a hair and make-up artist.

Bayo (Nigeria)

Alexander Adebayo Adetomiwa

Alexander Adebayo Adetomiwa

Alexander Adebayo Adetomiwa was a 28-year-old economist when he entered the house. He became the sixth person to be evicted, on August 24, 2003. Bayo is a police officer. He enlisted as a pilot with Nigeria Police Force after the show.

Bruna (Angola)

Bruna Tatiana Estivão

Bruna Tatiana Estivão

Bruna Tatiana Estivão was a 25-year-old singer and model when she got on the show. She was the first person to be evicted, on June 22, 2003. She has since continued with her music, winning and getting nominated for several awards. The singer is currently one of the main female voices of Angolan music.

Cherise (Zambia)

Cherise Makubale

Cherise Makubale

Cherise Makubale was a 24-year-old procurement officer when she entered the show. After the show, Cherise travelled extensively as a Goodwill Ambassador for Zambia and UNICEG, doing charity work all over Africa – especially spreading awareness on HIV and AIDS. Her Cherise Makubale Foundation, a non-profit organisation has been supporting orphans and vulnerable children in Zambia. She has made donations to several orphanages and helped raise money for a physically challenged persons’ skills center in Chipata, which is now called the Cherise Makubale Resource Centre for the Disabled.

She also owns an educational park called The Cherise Kids Park, an educational park that enlightens children on HIV and AIDS, road safety, malaria, child abuse and environmental issues. She eventually got married, in October 2008, and is now based in London, UK. Cherise is said to be still active in her charitable ventures in Zambia but has streamlined her foundation to mainly focus on education related projects as a way of stopping the poverty cycle. She received a Humanitarian Award at the 2016 BEFFTA Awards in London.

Gaetano (Uganda)

Gaetano Kagwa

Gaetano Kagwa

Gaetano Kagwa was a 30-year-old student when he entered the Big Brother house. He finished in fourth on the show finale. Today, Gaetano is an actor and broadcaster. He played Abe Sakku on the hit TV series, Beneath The Lies – The Series. He is the host of ‘Overdrive Show’ on Capital FM, as well as the ‘Another Round’ TV show. Gaetano also hosted Studio 53 on M-net, and was the resident host for Tusker Project Fame from 2006-2013. He married Enid Kushemeza in August 2009.

A gae must still have his pint (wink)

Mwisho (Tanzania)

Mwisho Mwampamba

Mwisho Mwampamba

Mwisho Mwampamba was 22 years old and self-employed when he got on the show. The wild Tanzanian finished in second place on the show lasting 106 days. In 2010 Mwisho returned as a contestant in Big Brother Africa 5: All-Stars. He came in 4th place lasting all 91 days; he has the record for the most days spent in Big Brother house, a total of 197 combined.

Mwisho Mwampamba

Mwisho Mwampamba and his children

Mwisho set another Big Brother Africa record when he proposed to fellow housemate, Meryl on the All Star edition in 2010. The became the first couple to get engaged in the house. They later got married and have been making beautiful babies since.

Mwisho Mwampamba

Mwisho Mwampamba’s wife Meryl

Mwisho is currently an event host, recruitment specialist, actor, public relations practitioner and a ‘Tanzania Street Workout’ coach.

Sammi (Ghana)

Samuel Kwame Bampoe

Samuel Kwame Bampoe

Samuel Kwame Bampoe was a 28-year-old radio presenter when her entered the game. He became the fourth person to be evicted, after an injury in the house had slowed him down. He was evicted on August 3, 2003. In 2010 Sammi competed in Big Brother Africa 5: All-Stars and lasted 33 days and was forced to leave due to medical issues this time around. Sammi B, as he is more affectionately known has launched his music career after his appearance on the show. He also acted in Juliet Ibrahim’s “Shattered Romance”. He has also been hosting his own show on several radio stations including Kasapa FM.

Stefan (Namibia)

Stefan Ludik

Stefan Ludik

Stefan Ludik was a 22-year-old forensic psycho-physiologist when he got on the TV show. He became the seventh person evicted show, on August 31, 2003. The former cricketer is now a musician, television personality, and actor. Ludik has appeared in South African Afrikaans-language TV shows, such as Egoli: Place of Gold, Transito, and Binnelanders . He has recorded songs in both Afrikaans and English. He has performed under his original name, as simply Ludik, and as Elvis se Seun. In 2011, he won the Afroatainment Museke Online Africa Music Award (MOAMA) for best alternative song for the single “Black Girl, White Boy,” which he recorded with Namibian female duo, Gal Level. Ludik was announced as a brand ambassador for Legacy Lifestyle‏ on October, 2017.

Tapuwa (Zimbabwe)

Tapuwa Mhere

Tapuwa Mhere and husband

Tapuwa Mhere was a 26-year-old public relations officer when she entered the show. She finished in third place. She stayed in South Africa and worked with  M-net after the show as an Editor at M-Net New Media. Tapuwa  got married and has settled well in Philadelphia, United States together with her husband. She met her better half from America in South Africa. Her famous doctor father, Dr OT Mhere in response to Tapuwa’s marriage to a white American said: “Quite honestly, it came as a shock to us because we wanted her to marry a black Zimbabwean guy but she had other plans. I guess love is blind and so as her parents we then sat down and accepted her choice.”

Warona (Botswana)

Warona Setshwaelo

Warona Setshwaelo

Warona Setshwaelo entered the competition as a 25-year-old video editor. She finished in fifth on the show. After BBA, she was ready to pursue her acting career full-time and decided to move to Montréal in 2007. After working in several theatres in the city, Warona has also garnered a healthy Film/TV resumé. Her filmography includes an appearance on Quantico (TV Series) in 2016 as a trauma counselor. Her other film roles include Jack of Diamonds (2011) ‘Deadfall’ (2012), Assassin of Creed (2012) and ‘White House Down’

warona and husband

Warona and husband

Warona is happily married to Mike Payette, Artistic Director of Geordie Productions. They reside in Montréal with her daughter Khaya.

Zein (Malawi)

Zein Dudha

Zein Dudha

Zein Dudha was a 27-year-old marketing when he entered the BBA house. He was the second person to be evicted, on July 6, 2003. He has since worked as a consultant providing creative solutions to the hospitality sector in developing countries. Zein is the owner of Villa 33, a Bed & Breakfast lodge outside the hub of Blantyre. He currently lives in New York, USA.

Remember them? This is what the contestants of ‘The Apprentice Africa’ have been up to almost a decade after

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Ameyaw Says

No matter your age, there is an online game for everyone

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My wife recently spoke to me about getting some video games for our three-year old son to play on his tablet. She had seen how the children of her colleagues play various games on their smartphones and tablets, so enthusiastically. Nathan is used to playing a lot of education videos and games on his tablets but my wife felt it was perhaps time to try something new like Candy Crush Saga or Temple Run although these games are recommended for age 10 plus.

 

I have also observed keenly, how video games excite children, so I agreed it would be a great option for Nathan as well. I still remember my earliest encounters with video games. I always wanted to have a video game for myself but my parents denied me during my primary school days. My father said it would distract me from my studies.  So, I usually played the likes of Super Mario Bros and Sonic the Hedgehog in school on my friends’ Nitendo Gameboy. The Iconic Tetris console was of course a favorite for me too, back in the day.

 

I remember when our neighbors got an Atari video game console; I was always in their living room at any opportunity I got to play Pacman and other games (I don’t even remember them now, but I think it included Contra). Then, finally my cousins visited Ghana from the USA with a Sega Genesis in the 1990s. This introduced me to games like Power Rangers, Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter.

 

Then in the 2000’s I got my first computer so started installing programs that allowed me to play a variety of games on the desktop. When I got my first laptop in my university days, it was the era of the Internet and so I explored a number of games online. But after the university, I had not played a video or computer game until recently when I was looking for options for Nathan.

 

I came across plays.org, which brought back a lot of the good old memories I have with video games. It stocks a number of free browser-based online games. There are hundreds of free games across various genres including arcade classics, cartoon games, comic games, education, solitaire, sports games, pinball and more. All games are unblocked free HTML games which you can play directly in your web browser with no app downloads.

 

One thing I have noticed is how computer games have now turned into intriguing storylines, filled with extraordinary graphics, inspiring characters, and elements of realistic approach towards gameplay setting, and overall production design.  But when I really looked through the options onsite, I knew deep within me that the true essence of computer games has never changed.

 

I tried my hands on Break the Worm, which is a players’ favorite on the website. This is a classic ‘beat em up’ game where Finn is trapped in a nightmare on a quest through 3 worlds, to defeat a worm. He gains unique magical powers in each world. The game is easy to play and there is a full guide on how to play it even before you start, from how to hit and block punches to how to swerve the worms and other adversaries that come your way. My favorite is using the special moves to kill them faster or easier.

I am not one for reading guidelines so I went straight into it punching may way through it all, and discovering new tricks as I went along.  I kicked off with level one, ‘Ice Kingdom’. Here, the opposition was largely easy to defeat worms, and some robot-like machines. I fairly aced it in a matter of time, with no failure. Just as most combat games, I was able to pick up items that boosted my lost energy due to the hits I received, as well as extra lifelines along the line.

quick tips pop on screen on how to play the game

quick tips pop on screen on how to play the game

Level two, ‘Dad’s Dungeon’, was slightly more difficult but after some few failures I managed to ace it and moved on to the third level,  ‘Candy Kingdom’. As sweet as the name sounds, I haven’t been able to complete the level yet, although I tried over ten times on my first day.

I haven’t given up yet on ‘Candy Kingdom’ because thankfully, I get the option to continue from where I left off anytime I go on plays.org and choose Break the Worm.  So I will try it again when I have some more time on my hand.

According to details on the website, beating the game unlocks a second harder version of the game called Nightmare Mode. I will surely keep trying to see what the nightmare mode has waiting for me.

 

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Ameyaw Says

Celebrating my 40th birthday with orphaned children and abused women

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I want to thank everyone for the amazing well-wishes, prayers and gifts that characterised  my 40th birthday celebrations. You inspire me to excel more each year!

One of my biggest highlights was on Monday, when I visited orphaned children and abused women at the Potters Village Home, in Dodowa.

I first heard about the home when Ameyaw TV was invited to cover a donation earlier in the year. I was touched to make a similar donation when I watched our video from that event.

Watch the donation to the Potters Village Home below

The Potters Village is a charitable organization established to provide care and support to women and children who suffer domestic violence and abuse. To donate to The Potters Village, visit https://thepottersvillage.org/ or call +233243573386

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Ameyaw Says

“Every artist needs a Bullet” – Wendy Shay praises her manager

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Wendy Shay has heaped praises on her manager, Bullet for being the best in the industry. (more…)

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Ameyaw Says

Is it time to scrap ‘Artist of the Year’ from the Ghana Music Awards?

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As a keen follower of the Ghana Music Award for over two decades, I have observed how increasingly it has become difficult to award the ‘Artist of The Year’ over the period.

 

Today, I ask whether that category is even necessary? What is the true measure for the artist of the year – be it for a genre or the ultimate? As the current scheme stands, and looking at how winners have been chosen over the years, I doubt there are indeed any standards for scoring and judging the ultimate ‘artist of the year’.

 

An obvious standard for measuring an outstanding artist would first be the body of work. I know the Ghana Music Awards over the years has also considered the level of artistry and the performances of the artist as a key indicator or measure for choosing the artist of the year, which I find pretentious and even contentious because we each look for different things in a performance.

 

So by logic, in choosing an artist of the year, the number of hit songs (good or bad), album or EP ratings, and public ratings would be good indicators. By this logic, Diana Hamilton wouldn’t be the strongest suit for Artist of the Year for the 2021 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards. For the year in review, I honestly only knew of her smash hit song, ‘Adom’. If she had an album, I don’t know of it. She was not nominated for an album or an EP this year; she came into the competition with one strong song, and an obvious backing of ‘industry people’.  Looking at the nominees in the category this year, the others had more than just these attributes!

 

Over the years, we have come to accept the Ghana Music Award scheme as being a judgment of the Board, the Public and the Academy. While I love it for this unique outlook, it comes with its inherent challenges also. And I feel that to preserve the integrity of the awards, some changes need to happen. This includes scrapping off the Artist of the Year category. We have seen the scheme adapt and make changes over the years including new categories, new definitions and more. In fact this year saw the introduction of Afropop/Afrobeats Artist of the Year and EP of the year, to reflect the growing changes in the industry.

 

I think it is about time to build the various genres of the scheme and make them competitive enough for the artists that win each genre to be the top award for each genre, example, Highlife Artist of the Year or Hip-hop artist of the year. For instance for the Grammys, the top awards in the “General Field” are four awards which are not restricted by music genre. These include The Album of the Year, The Record of the Year (which is the Vodafone most popular song of the year in Ghana, and not so much its equivalent), The Song of the Year (which is a songwriter award unlike in Ghana) and The Best New Artist.

 

The ‘Artist of the Year’ unnecessarily makes the awards overly competitive for the musicians, and frankly, it has been proven enough that the Ghana Music Awards scheme does not have what it takes (in terms of the standards I mentioned earlier) to adjudge the ultimate artist of the year in Ghana. For instance, by logic, looking at the nominations this year, Diana Hamilton was the only gospel artist in the ‘artist of the year’ category, which meant that by default she had already been adjudged ‘gospel artist of the year’. Yet, the ‘gospel artist of the year’ is supposed to be a combined judgment of voting by The Board, The Academy and The Public.

 

It’s time to clean up!

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Ameyaw Says

My Top 6 highs of the 2021 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards

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The 2021 Vodafone Ghana Music Awards was billed to be the biggest night for Ghana’s music industry, and for most parts, it lived up to the expectation, and perhaps even surprised some people.

After a not so inspiring Day 1 of performances and industry awards, Day 2 on Saturday picked up with a number of amazing moments. And here are my picks

Tribute to Castro

Singer Kurlsongx led medley of hit in honour, Castro 7 years after his speedboat accident. Castro will be  legally declared dead this year, and the tribute was very befitting, although the performance was entirely great. Kofi Kinaata and Sarkodie joined Kurlsongx to before some of their biggest collaborations with the ‘hiplife colossus’.

Mr Drew’s performance

Mr Drew proved why he deserved the New Artist of the Year honour with a well produced performance. The energetic performance was backed with solid vocals and exciting dance routines. His ability to control his vocals while dancing proved that he is indeed gifted with both.

 

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Adina’s show of intent!

Adina came to prove a point on Saturday and her performance clearly was a show of her intent to remove doubts about leading this year’s nominations. She begun with the touching ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ tribute to her late father and picked up the tempo with the Reggae/Dancehall song of the year, ‘Why’. Adina won two of the biggest awards at the VGMA this year including Record of The Year for ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ and Album of The Year for her eclectic ‘Araba’ album.

 

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The Asakaa vibes

Yaw Tog , Kofi Jamar and Ypee got the chance to be a worthy representation for the new wave of music from ‘Kumerica’ that characterised the new vibes of the Ghana music industry in the past year. collectively the performed two of the biggest jams of the years including ‘Sore’ and Ekorso’.

Queen amongst Kings

Ghana’s number femcee, proved she deserved the Best Rap Performance laurel with a well coordinated stage craft that made me fall in love with her, in a new kind of way. Her flows were effortlessly executed and her coordination with her dancers were well choreographed.

A worthy champion

The 2020 Artist of the Year, Kuami Eugene, who was also in the running for this big gong this year came with a strong performance to prove why he was the reigning champion. The performance had a lot of layers and progression, something not very characteristic of Kuami Eugene.

 

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Ameyaw Says

Watch: HITZ FM’s Dr. Pounds ties the knot in star-studded traditional wedding

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HITZ FM on-air personality, Dr. Pounds- real name Maximous Mensah has married his fiancee in star-studded traditional wedding in Cape Coast. (more…)

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