Zimbabwe’s representative to the reality television show, Big Brother All Stars, Munyaradzi Chidzonga, was last week presented with a compensatory $300 000 by President Mugabe after missing out on the BBA grand prize of $200 000 in controversial circumstances.
NewsDay writers, Phillip Chidavaenzi and Tinashe Sibanda had an afternoon out with the BBA star, who spoke about his experiences in the BBA house and life in general.
Q: Can you briefly describe your experience in the Big Brother house?
A: I think when I met the President, he gave the precise description.
He said it’s something that’s “very gruelling psychologically”.
And that’s true because it’s something that plays on your mind, because everyday you’ll be seeing the same things (in the BBA House).
The President likened it to a prison, but the funny thing is that you have to be the longest survivor.
It’s a test of endurance, really.
Q: Are there any new things you learnt about yourself while in the house?
A: I spent so much time in that house, and everything in there is so extreme.
That gives you an opportunity to learn who you are.
I went through every kind of emotion.
Q: You were nominated a record nine times.
How did you feel every time you were nominated?
A: I had mixed feelings.
On the one hand you want to leave and get it over with, and on the other hand, you don’t want to leave because for you to win, you have to stay.
So, you’re happy to stay, and sad to see someone (a fellow housemate) leave.
Q: You participated in the Big Brother show twice. Given another chance, would you go back?
A: (Moment of thoughtful silence).
Right now, I won’t go back.
I don’t want to go back.
But if I get another opportunity, I’ll think about it.
But it has to make a lot of sense.
Q: The first time you went into the house, you were not married, unlike the second time.
Would you say there were any differences in your personality?
A: When that kind of thing happens, it seems like you’ve changed fast.
When I was single there was a lot of drinking, smoking and those kinds of things.
But a lot has happened.
Now you have a lot of big things happening that change you, like the birth of my son.
Q: What was it like, seeing your wife and son for the first time when you arrived back after so long?
A: When I first saw my wife (at the airport), so many things happened.
It was just like, bang, she was there!
Everything stopped, on the one hand, I wanted to get my luggage, and on the other, there were the fans clamouring for my attention and here I wanted to go to my wife.
I didn’t meet my son until later in the evening. And this made it all worth it.
Q: How did you feel just before coming home after the show?
A: I kept walking around in the final show.
You see, when you get into the house for the first time, everything is interesting because you’re seeing new things.
But then the second time, you’re practically choked you can’t wait to leave.
Q: Why did you decide to go into Big Brother at the beginning?
A: I’m an actor by profession, so I was looking to advancing my acting career.
I needed exposure, and I thought Big Brother would give me the right platform.
At that time I wasn’t working, because there were not so many acting projects, so I decided to go for it.
Q: What was your family’s response like?
A: Initially my parents were against it.
Of course they had heard stories of people drinking, smoking and fornicating in the Big Brother house.
So they had serious reservations about it.
But I was adamant because I had nothing to lose.
I also explained to them that I was doing it for the exposure because I’m a film maker and actor.
Q: Tell us more about that?
A: I’m into film on a full-time basis.
That is what I trained to do.
I studied that in Cape Town.
And this I would like to do in my life. I’m an actor and a producer.
Q: Do you think the fact that you’re an actor by profession could have given you a competitive advantage in the BBA house?
A: (Laughs) Well, I think it may have given me an edge, because I’m comfortable with performing.
But there was no clear advantage, really.
Q: You have won yourself a huge local fan base. How do you intend to interact with those fans?
A: I said while I was still in the house that I would love to meet all my fans.
But there are not enough hours in life to do that.
But I will do what I was born for – movies, works of art.
That’s the best I’ll do. I will talk to my fans, obviously.
I knew I was popular. I survived nine nominations.
And what I saw at the airport (when fans mobbed him), oh, it was crazy.
Q: What was your best moment in the house?
A: When we had dinner in the sky, which I just can’t explain.
You just have to experience it on your own.
(A dinner table was flown into the air with all the housemates, and they had dinner there)
Q: Which were your worst moments in the house?
A: Fighting people (Munya nearly fought Tanzania’s Mwisho on the last Saturday).
And that final moment sitting there, and you’re expecting your name to be called out.
I’d told myself I was there to win.
Then when the name is called out, it’s not you.
Q: And the $300 000 that you got . . . What are you going to do with it?
A: (Laughs) I haven’t sat down yet to think about it.
I’m sticking to what I know, and that is to push the movie.
Q: How do you think your stint in Big Brother will add value to the movie?
A: I hope my name is going to help in pushing the movie, and this movie is my gift to my fans.
Q: What’s your view on Zimbabwe’s fledgling movie industry?
A: I would say there is massive potential.
We have talented film makers. We need to grow markets.
There’s so much potential and a lot of money if you know what you’re doing.