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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 July, 2003, 15:34 GMT 16:34 UK
Namibians snub Big Brother ban
President Sam Nujoma of Namibia
Mr Nujoma prefers educational programmes to Big Brother Africa
Namibians have continued to watch the Big Brother Africa television show, despite calls from President Sam Nujoma for the state-owned Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) to take it off the air.

The reality show brings together in a single house 12 contestants - each from a different African country - but there has been criticism from church groups that some scenes broadcast are too explicit and encourage immorality.

Mr Nujoma said on Monday that NBC should concentrate more on educational programmes and documentaries, rather than showing the activities of the housemates from across Africa.

"I would like to call on the NBC to stop showing this so-called Big Brother Africa and to start showing the history of Namibia," Mr Nujoma said.

However, Gerry Munyama, the NBC's director-general told the Afrikaans daily, Die Republikein, that he thinks the president's words are being taken out of context, and that the remarks are an expression rather than an order to take the BBA show off the air.

NBC's decision

The NBC currently re-broadcasts daily highlights from the BBA house for 30 minutes from Monday to Friday and dedicate 60 minutes on Sundays, when housemates get their matching orders.

Contestants chatting in garden
The NBC broadcasts daily highlights of the BBA show

The BBC's Frauke Jensen in the capital, Windhoek, says that Information Minister Nangolo Mbumba on Tuesday met NBC's top management and pointed out that the decision to act on the presidential request to remove the BBA programme was in the hands of the broadcaster.

"Mr Mbumba apparently said President Nujoma would not have made such a statement in public, if he did not seriously mean it," our correspondent says.

Namibian media have suggested that Mr Nujoma's action might have been prompted by the fact that the Namibian housemate, Stefan Ludic, is white and some feel that he should not be Namibia's representative in the pan-African contest.

Supporters

In Windhoek's cafe Funky Lab, Stefan's supporters meet regularly to watch the show and the crowd of young professionals, students and scholars is especially large when nominations or evictions are about to take place, our correspondent says.

Even if BBA were to be taken off air on NBC, viewers still have the choice of watching the reality show on satellite television (DSTV) if they are wealthy enough to subscribe.

Namibian newspapers also give a daily update or comment on what is happening in the BBA house.

Die Republikein on Wednesday asked public opinion on whether or not the NBC should take President Nujoma's comments seriously and take BBA off the air.

The three answers callers can give are "Yes", "No" or "I don't watch NBC".

So far three housemates from Angola, Kenya and Malawi have been evicted and viewers are waiting anxiously to see the next evictee from this week's five nominees.




SEE ALSO:
Zambia clergy slams Big Brother
04 Jul 03  |  Africa
Africa swap for Big Brother
23 Jun 03  |  Entertainment
African housemate leaves Big Brother
26 Jun 03  |  Entertainment


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