I love television. I loved television from the moment I saw it. And I first saw it across a fence. For quite some time after I started primary school, there was no television. True. There was no television. I am sure there was television in other countries. There must have been television in other parts of the country. But where I grew up, at least in my street, there was no television when I started school. It was like that for a number of years. I got to hear about television through word of mouth. Initially, it was just a rumour. The more intrepid of my playmates that had been to other parts of the country brought back tales of this thing called television. We didn’t believe them. It could not be true. They told us television was this box in which you could see people and cars moving as they would in real life. We wanted to know if the people on television spoke. We wanted to know how cars and people, big as they were, could fit in a box small enough to be placed in the living room.
These were tough questions and the storytellers could not answer. Failure to give convincing answers destroyed their credibility and they were dismissed as liars. How could people and cars be seen moving and speaking in a box? It hurt the storytellers that we did not believe them. We did not care that they had seen this television thing on a visit to their sister in the big city. As far as we were concerned, it was a lie. There was nothing like television. But the stories grew in frequency and more youngsters claimed sightings. It got to a point where those of us who had never seen television became a minority and we decided to shut up. If everyone else had seen this thing called television, and we had not, something was wrong with our parents. But in our street, still no television appeared. When television eventually came, we saw it from across a fence. Every evening, hordes of us would converge by the fence of a house in which there was a television set. All we saw was a flicker on the screen. We were so far away we could not see the actual black and white images. But it was captivating nonetheless.
Every evening we spent hours and hours watching television from across the fence. And it was always full house. Then a set appeared in our street. All of a sudden, the boy we had been frolicking with stopped coming out to play. Straight after school he went into his house and stayed indoors until he went to school the following day. Word went round that they had bought a television set. Suddenly, he was a hero at school. No one bullied him anymore.
He walked around with a swagger, and an entourage of bodyguards. They all wanted to go to his house and watch television. He became a favourite of the teachers. I guess they too had never been in the same room with a television set. Even then, the parents of the hero did not allow his friends into the house. They had to jostle for the best viewing place outside the window. But there were times when he was displeased about something. In that mood, the hero would close the curtains and the viewers would have to be extra nice to him at school the next day. I vowed that as soon as I started working I would buy myself a television set. I did exactly that. I have now owned a few sets in my life. But the magic of television still holds me in thrall. My proudest moments are when I am relaxing in my lounge flicking across the channels with my remote control. It is a far cry from when I watched that black and white set from across the fence. My ambition is to have a set in every room in my house. Even in the toilet. I am reminded of television because of the upcoming Big Brother Africa show. I look forward to it. Heck, if I didn’t have to work I would spend my whole day indoors, like that boy at primary school, watching the show. I enjoyed the last Big Brother series.
I particularly enjoyed the shower scenes when the housemates would be filmed taking long, hot and relaxing showers. Like other men, I always looked forward to when it was a female in the shower. I am sure the ratings shot up whenever a female was in the shower. I look forward to more erotic viewing. There was shower hour for male housemates. I didn’t like that one. Sometimes the comparisons were not good. But female viewers liked it. And the next day they would compare notes about the sizes of the male accoutrements. That is why Big Brother is such a success. It has everything for everyone. Both male and female. But looking forward to Big Brother I am worried about who will represent our country. If it is a female it had better be someone who will get men all over the continent flocking to watch shower hour.
My worry stems from the possibility of our country being represented by a male housemate. Here we must not make a mistake. We must make sure we get the best chap. Big Brother is a contest between nations to determine which one has the best and the smartest people. It is also a contest about other things. It is about which country has the most beautiful lady in the house. Equally so it is a contest about which country has the man who would be most envied by women all over the continent. The most popular male housemate in the last series was called Gaetano. He did his country Uganda proud.
He was a sight to behold. Ever since his appearance in Big Brother, Ugandan men are loved by women all over Africa, and the world at large. Gaetano is a big hero (pun intended) and his country has apparently erected a statue for the honour he has given Ugandan men. I say, if we send a woman she must be damn pretty. And if we send a man he must be able to stand up to scrutiny and compete with the best. He must be the best this country can offer. In fact, it is the duty of the government to make sure we are well represented. That means a few officials from the government must get their rulers and measuring tapes and actively participate in the selection of our male representative. He must be big. This is a matter of national pride. Local men must not become the laughing stock of the continent. And I don’t want to be embarrassed in front of my television!