Ghanaian Comedian, Actor and Radio Presenter Seth Karikari known in public life as Koo Fori has slammed Endemol, Producers of the continent’s biggest Television reality show, Big Brother Africa, accusing them of subtly trying to impose their own choice of housemates to represent Ghana at this year’s contest.
For the first time in the history of Big Brother Africa, all four finalists chosen at auditions held in Ghana (Holiday Inn Hotel) on 5 and 6 July 2014, to represent the West African nation, have been disqualified; and entirely new auditions have been reportedly held in South Africa for Ghanaian nationals living in South Africa.
According to a press statement from producers of the show:
“The candidates applied for visas to travel to South Africa for the final stage of auditioning but unfortunately, their visas were not able to be processed and issued in time. The SA Home Affairs now requires all applicants to submit their own applications personally and the visa process takes a minimum of ten working days.
The South African High Commission in Ghana was following the necessary processes but unfortunately there were delays in producing additional documentations such as bank statements, which meant that Endemol had to take the necessary measures to ensure Ghana is represented in BBA 9 and does not miss out of the show.
The production company had no option but to find alternative Ghanaian candidates to audition in South Africa, as they could not hold up the processes that lead up to the show”.
But Koo Fori believes this is just a well calculated ploy to impose their own choice of housemates as Ghana’s representative.
“This is not reasonable, I don’t see it as a reasonable excuse. If they knew about the new SA Visa application process and they knew that you need 10 working days to process the visa, what were they waiting for?” he quizzed in an exclusive interview with Peacefmonline.com.
According to him, had it not been for the media’s exposé about another audition in SA regarding Season 9 of Big Brother Africa, Endemol would have quietly gone about it without informing the Ghanaian representatives who auditioned in Accra that they have been somewhat disqualified.
He described the action by the producers of the show and Multi-Choice Ghana, local partners of the event as an insult to the intelligence of Ghanaians, and wondered why virtually everyone in the entertainment appears unconcern about the gross disrespect and raw deal meted out to the country.
Koo Fori strongly held the view that Endemol is being economical with the truth and believed “there is more to it than what they stated in the press release”.
“With the kind of reasons they gave in their press statement, they are just throwing dust into the eyes of Ghanaians. I think it is just a flimsy excuse they are giving us and it is not going down well with us at all and I can’t believe nobody is saying anything,” he added.
He questioned why the issues concerning the acquisition of visas affected only Ghana out of the 14 participating countries whose representatives auditioned in their respective countries. He further wondered how the producers who are based in South Africa, and have been in the business of organizing the reality show for almost a decade now, could not be aware of the changes in SA visa processing requirements on time enough for them to find a proper solution to the problem.
“I think they have not been fair to all Ghanaians and Africans as a whole because if you are producing such a competition you need to make sure you are on top of your game in everything.”
Koo Fori, who claims to have religiously followed the Big Brother Africa reality show since its inception (Season 1) till date, told Peacefmonline.com that BBA producers “Should also see us as very important because we contribute a lot in the sense that if they bring Ghanaians who live in South Africa to participate, the question is do Ghanaians know these people and how can they (The producers) prove to Ghanaians that they are indeed nationals from this country and not some foreigners posing as Ghanaians?”
He also sounded surprised at the loud silence of government institutions, particularly the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, over this blatant show of disrespect, considering that the show is expected to begin on September 7 2014; a little over a week from now.
“Because whether we like it or not, these people are going to represent the whole Ghana and they are going to use our national flag and the image of our beloved country on continental television,” he pointed out.
The Big Brother Africa season 9 “Hotshots” kicks off on 7 September at 19:00 CAT and runs 24/7 on DStv channels 197 and 198, with the best of the live highlights shown on GOtv.