I chanced on this article on Ghanaweb.com and bashful as I usually am about moralising and religious fire-breathing, I shared part of the author's worry about undue western media influences on Africa's traditionally conservative youth and culture.In particular,the popular continent-wide broadcasted Big Brother Africa's (BBA) increasingly loose moral bend.The image on the left is of Makosi, a recent contestant from Zimbabwe, who in addition to routinely baring herself to the tens of millions of Africa's live audience, also had unprotected sex with a house-mate on the set.For a continent plagued with AIDS and struggling to reassert its cultural heritage and identity on the international stage, what messages do such western-influenced mass media programmes send to the youth? Should we be concerned?
"The devil can cite scripture for his own purpose. An evil soul producing holy witness is like a villain with a smiling cheek. What a goodly outlook falsehood hath?"- William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice.
In a country, where some so-called 'men of letters' screamed for the exclusion of Religious and Moral Education from the curricula, I was least surprised when I stumbled on endorsing reviews on that disguised immorality show called Big Brother. In the name of truth, I do not care about whose ox is gored or whose sleep is murdered. The fact that we are being swept off our feet by the alarming rate of biblical illiteracy does not mean I would not wear my born-again badge with fierce pride, and honour.
It is no contradicting the fact that a small percentage of Africans have access to television sets and even a fewer number to Cable Television, or regular power supply, but the interest that the Big Brother Africa programme has been generating since it was introduced in 2003, perhaps due to the generous reports it continually receives from the gutter press is quite worrisome.
In advanced countries, divorce rates, killings, thefts seem to be getting higher by the day, and I wonder why we continue ape the morally bereft aspects of western culture? Tragically, several analysts seeking to turn logic on our sane heads advance claims that seek to lure us into following them to the demonic cesspit.
In the maiden edition, despite all its flaws, the show got endorsement from no common a peerless one like Mandela. The concept of Big Brother Africa was one of educating the public and unifying the African audience, but the 2007 version played up all the negatives for a $100,000 prize. With contestants behaving like some sex-starved marauders packed in a glorified human zoo, you start wondering if the wind of immorality came from as far as the Hades to swoop on contestants. The Ofunneka/ Richard 'fingergate' scandal is instructive. How on earth could a 'lady' worth his dignity and integrity allow for some murky-hearted man insert his fingers into her privates in the glare of the public? Gosh! This is absolute madness! Do these shameless fellows ever stop to think that the footage of their disgraceful outing in South Africa would survive tomorrow, and that posterity would release fusillade upon fusillade of questions they would have little answers? How do these girls intend to rationalize their acts by explaining to their kid-brothers about the chest baring they lent themselves to? It is painful to imagine that they would carry the shame of immoral acts all their lives. It must be clear to them now that whoever counseled them into participation meant little good for them. It is irrefutable, those contestants are now role models for delinquents and no attempt to smuggle them to the good books of history would make for their shameful acts. It was perhaps the most annoying apology for a display of moral-bankruptcy when Kwaku Tutu, Ghana's so-called representative in the house, known for his Ghano-Bronx accent was given a red-carpet treatment in our country where hypocrites profess to worship the Almighty.
Controversies have continued to trail this show. The Malawian parliament voted to ban Big Brother Africa when it was on. The ruling party and political opposition could not but get on a consensus in condemning the show. The same thing happened in Namibia where the President, Sam Nojuma, called on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation to stop running the show and rather showcase historical footages. In Zambia, the powerful clergy which had gotten shows banned in the past declared a 'moral alert' and also demanded a government ban on the programme.
The last straw upholding the show's chip of integrity finally snapped when two contestants in the Big Brother Nigeria house were caught on full glare of cameras zigzagging (sic). Probably, at the advice of organisers, they had the effrontery to act as 'porn stars' before the more than one million viewers in Africa. Left to me, being crowned the winner of such a show is the least enviable in the world (besides being the queen of frumps, perhaps). Now the point has also been regularly made, namely, why watch BBA if you know it would offend your mind? Indeed, porn channels and websites like BBA abound, but they do not attract generous positive reviews from "serious" newspapers like BBA does. And that is where my beef lies.
The devil having lost his place in heaven due to pride and rebellion is very much desperate on getting many more people to suffer the eternal torments of hell with him. The battle of evil and good is as old as Adams, and as the crafty-Lucifer veils immorality in the name of entertainment, we should indeed be weary. There is a plethora of dead-beat ministries on the radio and so-called "Christian" broadcast networks. The simple gospel of Jesus Christ has been polluted with teachings about "financial seeds" and "witchcrafts." You hardly hear pastors give sermons that are against immorality. They even question critics like me on my definition of what constitutes an indecent dressing. Dapper televangelists masquerade as "God's Anointed" and shamelessly turn the gift of salvation into a charismatic infomercial with the goal of getting their hands on your money. To attract more people to their churches, they proclaim to heal even without the receiver's faith and bait gullible ones with gospel gimmicks. The inevitable question I am forced to ask is: why would people leave their bibles and allow some person stamp their foreheads with simpletons?
Those clamouring for the next staging of that immorality show in our country should please visit the harshest place in hell for support. They can waltz into the arms of the devil and dine with him if they wish. The heavens know this show leaves a pernicious influence of third-degree immorality on viewers and I call on nimble minds to help hammer the ugly head of immorality. I pray our enviable sexually conservative society never witness such wanton celebration of banality and immorality. The destiny is in our hands!
Manu Afreh Bernard, email@example.com
Manu Afreh Bernard,