BBA StarGame: Roki, Maneta Owe Zimbabwe Apology

FOR Zimbabwe the ongoing reality TVshow, Big Brother Africa Stargame is over as this week we received our two remaining housemates, urban groover Roki and Maneta Mazanhi who were expelled for breaching the game's no-violence rule by engaging in a needless altercation. While some do not put much store on the Big Brother Africa show which they dismiss as akin to cultural imperialism, to us its not the purpose of the show that mattered but the representation the country was supposed to get from housemates who entered the show under its banner. From the moment they successfully auditioned and were selected, Roki and Maneta stopped representing themselves but their country, Zimbabwe. This is why every housemate carries his or her country's flag into the BBA House as a constant reminder that he/she is supposed to lift that flag high. From the day they enter the BBA house, the housemates become de facto ambassadors which is why over the past two seasons, the housemates who acquitted themselves well have always been whisked to Zimbabwe House to meet the President who commends them for being good ambassadors for their country. For instance, although Munyaradzi Chidzonga missed the Big Brother All Stars first prize of US$200 000, Zimbabwean well-wishers mobilised US$300 000 which was handed to him by President Mugabe at State House, to fulfil Munyaradzi's stated childhood dream of meeting his idol, the President. A year later, Wendall Parsons landed the prize in Season VI which was dubbed Big Brother Amplified. Wendall, along with fellow housemate Vimbai Mutinhiri, who did not make it to the final, was again received at State House along with Comrades Marathon winner Stephen Muzhingi who dedicated his triumph to the Head of State and Government. President Mugabe thanked the trio for being good ambassadors for their country and presented them with US$110 000 broken down as US$50 000 apiece for Wendall and Muzhingi, and US$10 000 for Vimbai. The President hailed Wendall for enduring the long stay in the Big Brother house, which he equated to a time of incarceration. He also noted that Vimbai was not a loser but a victor as she managed to play her part in the face of hardship and other challenges that come with such a confined set up as Big Brother Show. On their part, the three celebrities said they were proud to be Zimbabwean and attributed their outstanding performances on the exemplary and good leadership of President Mugabe. Vimbai has since landed a job with MNet, which would not have happened had she failed to acquit herself well. Roki and Maneta shamed their country in front of a continental audience yet they had the DKB and Zainab experience to learn from. To make matters worse, they share the same flag yet they sought to make themselves rivals who constantly bickered and bad-mouthed each other to fellow housemates. While Roki failed by letting himself fall into catfights with Maneta, to give him his dues on all other issues he acquitted himself well particularly on his grasp of issues, a distinction Zimbabweans are well known for. Which is more than can be said for Maneta, who never missed an opportunity to trash her country, at times showing scant understanding of the issues she spoke about. While some attributed it to her age, the fact that other 21-year-olds did not do what she did is an indictment on her overall performance. The bottom line is no matter the field of endeavour, anyone who chooses to represent Zimbabwe becomes a de facto ambassador whose behaviour will be used as a yardstick to gauge his/her country of origin. Roki and Maneta's behaviour was not what Zimbabwe is about. They owe the nation an apology.