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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 June, 2003, 10:55 GMT 11:55 UK
Big Brother boost in Uganda
By Orla Ryan
BBC, Kampala

The arrival of a Ugandan, Gaetano Kagwa, in the UK version of the Big Brother television show comes as the programme is taking off in his home country.

Gaetano Kagwa
Gaetano Kagwa: Good for business
Big Brother Africa is now in its fourth week.

With the English football season now over, many Kampala residents are going to their one-time soccer haunts to watch their daily dose of Big Brother.

Gaetano's fame - or notoriety - peaked when it appeared that he had had sex with South African contestant Abby.

In Big Brother Africa, people can send text messages of support which appear on the screen.

The messages have appeared from even such isolated parts of Uganda as Kotido in Karomoja.

In upcountry towns, such as Mbarara, Lira and Fort Portal, people are also gathering to watch Big Brother in pubs and discotheques.

On Sunday, the first eviction night, people crowded into pubs such as The Venue in Garden City and pubs around Makerere University to support "Our Gae".

Is the first cross-continental show, and follows two South African series
Started with 12 housemates from 12 countries - five women and seven men
The series lasts 106 days
The prize is $100,000 (£60,000)
Viewers can watch the contestants shower
First eviction took place on Sunday - farewell to Bruna Estivao from Angola
Housemates keep macaws in an atrium

Stephen S Kavuma, managing director of The Venue, has seen his business thrive.

On Sunday, about 500 people gathered at his bar in central Kampala.

He says he expects the turn-out to get even better.

Turn-out was good at the launch and is usually good on Friday, he says, the night when the housemates get some alcohol.

"It is good entertainment," Mr Kavuma said.

Destined to do well

"Gaetano is going to do well. If he comes back now or if he comes back at the end, he has a future.

"He didn't have sex, I don't expect that of him," he said, when asked about the alleged sexual act with Abby.

I think he is doing wonders, despite the alleged scandal
Asaph Besigye a business advisory specialist

He expects him to fare well in the UK.

"He has been to many countries. He will get on well, wherever he goes," said Mr Kavuma.

Richard Besigye, who runs a small bar in a Kampala suburb, said business was booming.

"Everywhere you can see, all the chairs are covered, even the boda boda boys (motorbike taxi drivers) stand to watch it," he said.

Most viewers are enthusiastic about Gaetano's performance so far.

"He is good, he is himself," said shop assistant, Lina Okee.

'Down to earth'

What about the alleged sex with Abby? "It is normal. I wasn't surprised. I think he will get on well in the UK as he has been to other countries," she said.

Will he win? "Definitely, Ugandans never lose."

He had sex under the cameras, I don't think someone who wants to preserve his integrity can do that
Fred Masiga, Journalist

Carol Cope works in a phone shop. She was not surprised that Gaetano was with Abby.

"I think it is exciting. The fact it involves our votes is even better. I think he (Gaetano) is down to earth and I think he is being himself," she said.

Asaph Besigye, a business advisory specialist, has not watched Big Brother Africa yet.

But he said: "I think he is doing wonders, despite the alleged scandal. I think Ugandans thought he would be one of the first to be evicted. He is doing better than expected. I believe it is a game of luck."

'Cheap popularity'

Others take a harsher view of the antics in the Big Brother house.

Fred Masiga, a journalist, thought it a waste of time.

"You gain cheap popularity, you really don't act yourself. I think it was awful," he said.

"He had sex under the cameras, I don't think someone who wants to preserve his integrity can do that.

Many others are simply baffled by the excitement.

"I don't really get it. What do they do exactly? I keep getting texts on my phone saying vote this, vote that," one shopkeeper complained as she shrugged her shoulders.

BBC News Online users in the UK and Africa sent in their views on the swap.

I think it's a really interesting idea, I'm glad they're doing something different again this year. Big Brother is just more of the same really, but little changes like this make it worth watching. It will also give the housemates some new conversation material as they have someone new to talk to and share his experiences with them.
Sarah, U.K (Wales)

I think Gae is wonderful. He has turned to be a spotlight in Africa. His Character is unique, he has rare sense of humour and he does things right. I think he deserve to experience the Big Brother Version of the UK. Wish him luck.
Nsubuga Edward, Uganda

Having been down in Zambia and Moçambique for the past 2 weeks, I've been able to catch a couple of the pan-African Big Brother shows as well as the latest UK edition. I can safely say that Africa's version is far more lively and interesting than the dreary fourth British incarnation; Kampala's Gaetano is one of the most interesting in that show, so I fear he will die of boredom when confronted with the shallow and uninteresting UK contingent!
James, London, UK

I haven't had time to watch BB Africa yet as Cameron went into the house at about the same time that I arrived at work, but I think the swap is a great idea. I just hope Cameron will cope with our muscle man, Alex and our screaming "disapproving sister", Cherise.
Mary van Staden, South Africa

What a fantastic idea to 'swap' contestants!!! of all the big brothers this has to be the best idea they have come up with. Gaetano will bring excitement and fun into the house!! good on ya BB

Cameron is doing fine in south africa, he seems to be fitting in very well with the BB Africa housemates & his diary room session this morning was very endearing.
Leon Coetzer, South Africa

If there are any ladies in the house, watch out: the lion from the pearl of Africa has just been let loose in your back yard.
Brenda, Kenya

I think it's a stupid idea, Cameron is one of the only characters left with any personality. I think i'll stop watching Big Brother now!
Lisa, UK

Cameron will come back a changed man. The housemates will miss him dreadfully, especially as they have also lost Fed and Jon over the last few days. The whole character of the house has changed in three days.
David Farmbrough, England

Anything to bring a bit of variety in to the house is welcome. As long as they don't stick up a stupid divide like they did last time!!
James Morgan, England

It's excellent that the producers are not allowing the concept to stagnate - they have brought in new ideas with each series (the den in series two, the rich-poor division in series three) and this year's swap is certainly the most interesting and radical yet. The timing is also impeccable: the house's two genuine personalities were both given the boot on Friday and the remaining inmates are not strong enough to drive the ratings on their own.
Matt, UK

I wasn't really interested in previous iterations of Big Bro, but this year I must admit I've been loving it! Cameron, while perhaps not a winner will be missed by the other housemates and perhaps might ignite passion from Steph? The whole swap idea doesn't convince me 100% however but any sort of shakeup is welcome!
David, Northern Ireland, UK

Very imaginative so far, and the idea of a swap is spectacular, but will anyone understand Cameron's accent?
Adrian, UK

Great idea - most interesting twist they've added in three years! This is a REAL experiment in human behaviour now.
Emma, UK

Yawn! Big Brother is a long way past is sell by date and it should be put down.
Martin, England

Africa swap for Big Brother
23 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
Jon evicted from Big Brother
21 Jun 03  |  Entertainment

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