News Brief

One of half of the Scorpion Kings duo Kabza De Small leads the 2021 #SAMA27 nominations.

Here's The Lowdown On The 2021 South African Music Awards Nominees List

Amapiano king Kabza De Small leads the nominees list, while music fans are outraged over Makhadzi receiving zero nominations. Plus, Kelly Khumalo rejects her nomination. Here's more!

The South African Music Awards (SAMAs) nominations list has, once again, been met with a lot of disapproval from music fans. This year's edition, the 27th, features two new separate categories for amapiano and gqom music. However, the controversy around the snubbing of Limpopo-born singer Makhadzi has set tongues wagging since the nominees announcement on Wednesday evening, May 19. The likes of rapper Cassper Nyovest have sinceslammed the awards and Kelly Khumalo has requested that her nomination be rescinded. Kabza De Small leads the #SAMA27 nominees pack with six nods. The amapiano DJ and producer's I Am The King of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust, and Once Upon A Time in Lockdown with fellow Scorpion Kings member DJ Maphorisa,feature in the coveted"Album of the Year" category.

Sun-El Musician follows closely behind with five nominations. His stellar December 2020 album To the World & Beyond is nominated for, amongst others, "Best Live Audio Visual Recording of the Year", "Best Dance Album", "Best Produced Nomination" for Simmy's debut album Tugela Fairy: Made of Stars alongside Claudio Wayde, Da Capo and Mpho Mohlolong.

Other notable nominations include rapper Boity's4436 scoring a nomination under "Best Hip-Hop Album" and Babes Wodumo for "Best Gqom Album". Jazz artists Zoë Modiga and Thandi Ntuli were also recognised for their astounding efforts. Modiga's soul-searing sophomore album Inganekwane earned her the "The Best Engineered Album" nomination, while Thandi Ntuli (Live at Jazzwerkstatt) got a slot in the "Best Jazz Album" category.

The "Rest of Africa Award" features, amongst others, Afrobeats darlings Davido and Wizkid contesting with Kenyan afro-pop band Sauti Sol, South African singer Berita and Zimbabwe's reggae artist Buffalo Souljah.

Fans alluded Makhadzi's snub to the tribalism often levelled at Limpopo Province musicians. In an interview with TimesLIVE, RISA CEO Nhlanhla Sibisi said the 2021 SAMAs nomination list was "a reflection of the music industry and the movers and shakers who had the greatest impact" during 2020/21.

In solidarity with Makhadzi, Kelly Khumalo requested that her 2020 album The Voice of Africa which bagged the "Best Afropop Album" nomination be pulled out of #SAMA27 race. Hip-hop heavyweight Cassper Nyovest reached out to Makhadzi in a tweet that read, "Don't worry, they [SAMAs] don't mean anything anymore". Cassper Nyovest had his own bitter moment with the SAMAs last year after his hit single "Doc Shebeleza", which caused radical shifts in South Africa's hip-hop scene, was snubbed. According to SA Hip-Hop Mag, the rapper labelled the SAMAs corrupt and expressed that his fans' opinions actually mattered more than the awards.

Below is the full 2021 SAMAs nominees list

Album of the Year

  • Persistence – Bongo Riot
  • The Healers: The Last Chapter – Black Motion
  • Once Upon A Time in Lockdown – Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa (Scorpion Kings)
  • I Am The King of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust – Kabza De Small
  • Back to Love – Junior Taurus

Duo/Group of the Year

  • Reece Madlisa & Zuma – Ama Roto EP
  • MFR Souls – Musical Kings
  • Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa (Scorpion Kings) – Once Upon A Time in Lockdown
  • Mas Musiq & Aymos – Shonamalanga
  • Mi Casa – We Made It

Female Artist of the Year

  • Reign Africa – On the Frontline
  • Bucy Radebe – Spiritual Encounter
  • Sho Madjozi – What a Life
  • Nomcebo Zikode – Xola Moya Wam'
  • Hle – Your Kingdom on Earth

Male Artist of the Year

  • Sun-El Musician – To The World & Beyond
  • Bongo Riot – Persistence
  • Kabza De Small – I Am The King of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust
  • Oscar Mbo – For the Groovists
  • Junior Taurus – Back to Love

Newcomer of the Year

  • Xolly Mncwango – Jesus Is Enough
  • Reign Africa – On the Frontline
  • Africado – BandaBanda & The Crocodiles
  • Ingoma – Azana
  • Spiritual Encounter – Bucy Radebe

Best Rock Album

  • Chrome Neon Jesus – Ethyl Ether
  • Here's to the Now – Nathan Smith
  • Orange Sunshine – Yum Yuck
  • The Devils Cattle – Ruff Majik
  • Nothing's Gonna Change – Oooth

Best Pop Album

  • 11:11 – Rowlene
  • I Don't Sleep – Jethro Tait
  • Tribes & Angels – Locnville
  • Sugar – Mark Stent
  • She – Amy Lilley

Beste Pop Album

  • 2021 – Die Heuwels Fantasties
  • Die Toekoms is Synth – Synth Peter
  • Twintig20 – Brendan Peyper
  • Gewigloos – Juan Boucher
  • Gemaklik Verlore – Christa Visser

Best Adult Contemporary Album

  • In the Kingdom of the Aloes – amaFranx
  • Repaired – Jack Atlantic
  • Rise – Ndlovu Youth Choir
  • Take Me To The River – Connell Cruise
  • The South African Songbook – Kurt Darren & The Soweto Gospel Choir

Beste Kontemporêre Musiek Album

  • Wandel In My Woning – Refentse
  • Herverbeel – Die Heuwels Fantasties
  • Net Geleen – Bernice West
  • Monumentaal – Ruhan Du Toit
  • Spontaan – Riaan Benadê

Best African Adult Contemporary Album

  • Umsebenzi – Sjava
  • Isambulo – 1020 Cartel Artists
  • Amakhaya – Max-Hoba
  • Bamako – Simphiwe Dana
  • Buhlebendalo – Chosi

Best Alternative Music Album

  • Mania/Post Mania – Yellow House
  • iimini – Bongeziwe Mabandla
  • Hot Mess – Evert Snyman
  • Filth and Wisdom – The Medicine Dolls
  • Ebusuku – Th&o

Best R&B/Soul Album

  • A Force To Be Reckoned With – Thando
  • LANGA – Langa Mavuso
  • Sindisiwe – LaSauce
  • Small World – Ricky Tyler
  • Uhambo – Soul Kulture

Best Hip Hop Album

  • 4436 – Boity
  • Nadia Naked II – Nadia Nakai
  • Zulu Man With Some Power – Nasty C
  • Pop Star – Yanga Chief
  • Zakwe & Duncan – Zakwe & Duncan

Best Kwaito Album

  • Sgubhu OverDoze – Lvovo & Danger
  • Endaweni – Darkie Fiction
  • Don't Lose Hope – Sukiripapa
  • Bhut'Madlisa – Mampintsha
  • Ama Roto EP – Reece Madlisa & Zuma

Best Dance Album

  • To The World & Beyond – Sun-El Musician
  • For The Goovists – Oscar Mbo
  • Xola Moya Wam' – Nomcebo Zikode
  • The Healers: The Last Chapter – Black Motion
  • We Made It – Mi Casa

Best Traditional Faith Music Album

  • Worship House Project 17, Chapter II – Worship House
  • Buya Nkosi – Thinah Zungu
  • Spiritual Encounter – Bucy Radebe
  • Wathi Eloyi Eloyi – Sipho Makhabane
  • Izulu – Sneziey

Best Contemporary Faith Music Album

  • Devotion – Nqubeko Mbatha
  • Face 2 Face – Collen Maluleke
  • Jesus is Enough – Xolly Mncwango
  • Your Kingdom on Earth – Hle
  • The Promised Revival Part One – Tshwane Gospel Choir

Best African Indigenous Faith Music Album

  • Makhosi Akithi – Vuma Zion
  • Izwi Lakho – Mandlethu Gospel Singers
  • Katlehong Gospel Choir Artist Development – Katlehong Gospel Choir Artist Development
  • Sithembe Wena Nkosi – JTG Gospel Choir
  • Enyokumkhonza – Enyonini Mission Ministries

Rest of Africa Award

  • Unity Album – Buffalo Souljah
  • A Better Time – Davido
  • Made in Lagos – Wizkid
  • Midnight Train – Sauti Sol
  • Songs in the Key of Love – Berita

Best Traditional Album

  • Love and War – Henny C
  • What a Life – Sho Madjozi
  • Angeke Bakuthande Boke – Smangele
  • Shebeen Queen – Vusi Mahlasela
  • Ndavhuko – Vendaboy Poet

Best Maskandi

  • Amagupta – iChwane Lebhaca
  • Ziyangiluma Izinja – Phuzekhemisi
  • Iqatha Eliziqobayo – Thokozani Langa
  • Banathi Shaqa – Imithente
  • Imfene Kamakhelwane – Abafana Baka Mgqumeni

Best Jazz Album

  • Africado – BandaBanda & The Crocodiles
  • An Open Dialogue – Linda Sikhakhane
  • iHubo Labomdabu – Sibusiso Mash Mashiloane
  • Modes of Communication: Letters From The Underworlds – Nduduzo Makhathini
  • Thandi Ntuli (Live at Jazzwerkstatt) – Thandi Ntuli

Best Classical/Instrumental Album

  • Live in Cape Town – Guy Battery & Derek Gripper
  • Imagine – Charles du Plessis Trio
  • Live in Lisbon – Nibs van der Spuy & Guy Battery
  • Tek'o – CH2
  • We've All Known All Times – Wouter Kellerman

Best Afropop Album

  • Ingoma – Azana
  • Molimo – Manu Worldstar
  • Ngumama – Vusi Nova
  • The Voice of Africa – Kelly Khumalo
  • Tugela Fairy (Made of Stars) – Simmy

Best Live Audio Visual Recording of the Year

  • Your Kingdom on Earth – HLE
  • The Throne (Live Edition) – Presss
  • Spiritual Encounter – Bucy Radebe
  • My Hart Klop Refentse – Refentse
  • A Journey to the World & Beyond – Sun-El Musician

Best Collaboration

  • ''Uthando'' – Darque ft. Zakes Bantwini
  • ''Ek Like Hoe Jy Dans'' – Chê ft. Snotkop
  • ''Mali Eningi'' – Big Zulu ft. Riky Rick & Intaba Yase Dubai
  • ''Senzeni'' – Mthandazo Gatya ft. Comado & DJ Manzo SA
  • ''Yehla Moya'' – Da Capo & Nduduzo Makhathini ft. Omagugu

Best Produced Music Video

  • ''Where is the DJ'' by Malumz on Decks ft. Khanyisa – Oscar Nyathi
  • ''Qhawe'' – Made to Create by Toya Delazy – Kyle Lewis & Vjorn Tucker
  • ''Mamela'' by Mi Casa – Katya Abedian
  • ''Lucky Star'' by K.O – Adam Zackon & Dale Fortune
  • ''Hosh'' by Prince Kaybee ft. Sir Trill – Ofentse

Best Produced Album of the Year

  • In the Beginning Was the End by Manana – Manana & Noble
  • Ithemba by Luyolo – Marcus MC & Andy Keys
  • Umsebenzi by Sjava – Delaydem, Ruff, Webmoms, Zadok & Vuyo Manyike
  • Tugela Fairy: Made of Stars by Simmy – Sun-El Musician, Claudio Wayde, Da Capo & Mpho Mohlolong
  • The Healers: The Last Chapter – Black Motion

Best Engineered Album of the Year

  • Swingle Bells by Jonathan Roxmouth – Adam Howard
  • Goodluck Upclose by Goodluck – Murray Anderson & Andrew Rawborn
  • Isambulo by 1020 Cartel Artists – Mfanafuthi Ruff
  • The Second Coming by Kid Tini – James Smals, Kitie, Ron Epidemic & Tweezy
  • Inganekwane by Zoe Modiga – Papi Diretsi & Songo Oyama

Remix of the Year

  • ''Jerusalema'' – Kid Fonque
  • ''Ndanele'' – Dwson
  • ''Sala Nabani'' – Sun-El Musician, Claudio & Kenza
  • ''Speak Lord'' – Sculpturedmusic
  • ''Yehla Moya'' – Da Capo

Best Reggae Album

  • The Journey – Ras Canly
  • Persistence – Bongo Riot
  • My Music – Freeky
  • On the Frontline – Reign Africa
  • Empathy Riddim – Lavoro Duro

Best Amapiano Album

  • Musical Kings – MFR Souls
  • Back to Love – Junior Taurus
  • I Am The King of Amapiano: Sweet & Dust – Kabza De Small
  • Once Upon A Time In Lockdown – Kabza De Small & DJ Maphorisa (Scorpion Kings)
  • Shonamalanga – Mas Musiq & Aymos

Best Gqom Album

  • We Don't Play the Same Gqom – Que
  • Make Cape Town Great Again – Mshayi & Mr Thela
  • Isiqalo – DragerNation
  • InzaloYekwaito – Zinaro
  • Idando Kazi – Babes Wodumo
Photo by Matt Crossick

Davido Is Bringing ‘Timeless’ to These Cities

The Nigerian superstar has announced ‘A Timeless Night with Davido’ in Lagos, London and New York.

Davido has shared on social media that he will be bringing his Timelessalbum to New York, London, and Lagos, dubbing the mini-tour “A Timeless Night With Davido.”

In the post, the singer wrote:The support for Timeless over the last few days has been incredible! Thank you for the love. I'm so excited to bring this album to life and share it with you in person. London, New York City, Lagos join me for ‘A Timeless Night,' a special live event, where we'll make memories that will last forever!”

The DMW boss shared dates for the events; noting that in the first week of April, he will take the stage in New York and London, at Irving Plaza and Koko London, respectively, before returning to Lagos to perform at Tafawa Balewa Stadium in Lagos later that month.

In a viral social media post on Tuesday, the Nigerian singer announced that he will be releasing his latest studio album Timeless on March 31. The announcement spurred a lot of excitement and expectation from fans, who had been curious about the singer’s well-being after the extended hiatus that followed the tragic loss of his son, three year old Ifeanyi Adeleke.

Throughout Davido's 11-year career, he has become a staple in Afrobeats and has contributed significantly to pushing the sound, helping it resonate with fans globally. The singer has released several studio albums throughout his career, including Omo Baba Olowo (2012), A Good Time (2019), and A Better Time (2020).

Timeless will be his fourth studio album.

Photo by Chanel Moye.

The Songs You Need to Hear This Week

Featuring new African music from Burna Boy, Amaarae, Major League Djz, Kwesi Arthur, Victony and more.

Every week, we highlight the top Afrobeats and African music releases through our best music column, Songs You Need to Hear.

If you like these African music lists, you can also check out our Best Afrobeats and Best Amapiano of the month columns, plus our Best Songs of the Month columns following Nigerian, Ghanaian, East African, and South African music.

Read ahead for our round-up of the best new African music tracks and music videos that came across our desks this week.

Burna Boy “Rollercoaster” ft. J Balvin

Burna Boy - Rollercoaster (feat. J Balvin) [Official Music Video]

Nigerian superstar Burna Boy has shared a new music video for “Rollercoaster,” the J Balvin-featuring standout track off his most recent album, Love, Damini. The new clip follows the star artists as they head to an old-school movie theater together. In other recent Burna news, the African Giant is set to perform at the UEFA Champions League final game in June. Watch the new video above.

Amaarae “Reckless & Sweet”

Amaarae - Reckless & Sweet (Official Music Video)

Ghanaian-American songstress Amaarae has announced her upcoming album, Fountain Baby, and shared its highly-addictive lead single “Reckless & Sweet,” a track blending Afrobeats elements with Arabic and Indian melodies. “This time it’s about love and faith. This is my sexiest video to date and what I love most about it is that young Black women and men are about to see what our new energy is for 2023 and beyond,” Amaarae mentions in a press release. “Moving forward we’re grown and sexy.”

Major Lazer & Major League Djz “Ke Shy” ft. Tyla, LuuDaDeejay & Yumbs

Major Lazer & Major League Djz - Ke Shy (feat. Tyla, LuuDaDeejay & Yumbs [Official Audio]

South African DJ/producer duo Major League Djz have teamed up with Major Lazer (the trio of Diplo, Walshy Fire, and Ape Drums) to release the collaborative album Piano Republik, which is out today. As its title implies, the new album is all about amapiano. “Africa is the center of musical energy for the whole world right now, and amapiano is easily one of the most exciting things happening,” says Walshy Fire in a press release. “It’s blown up all over the continent, but it all started in South Africa, and Major League Djz is in the middle of everything. As soon as we got to experience their movement in real life, we knew we just had to collaborate.” Check out the album’s lead single “Ke Shy” above.

Kwesi Arthur “Pain Interlude”

Kwesi Arthur - Pain Interlude (Official Music Video)

Kwesi Arthur has released a new inspiring music video for his song “Pain Interlude.” The visuals, which were entirely shot in black-and-white, chronicle the life of a boxer who goes through challenges, but ultimately overcomes them due to his consistency and grit.

Victony “Soweto” ft. Don Toliver, Rema & Tempoe

Victony - Soweto with Don Toliver, Rema & Tempoe (Official Lyric Video)

Victony and Tempoe share a new version of their massive hit “Soweto,” this time with the additional star power of Don Toliver and Rema. “Soweto is such a special track for me,” Victony mentions in a press release, “so it was very exciting to team up with Don Toliver and Rema for the remix.” The original “Soweto,” which featured on Victony’s Outlaw EP, had already amassed 110 million streams.

News Brief
Photo by Nipah Dennis.

VP Kamala Harris Signals US Should Invest in Africa

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris has embarked on a three-country tour to reset economic relations between the United States and West Africa.

The United States’ Vice President Kamala Harris has embarked on a weeklong, three-country tour to Ghana, Tanzania and Gambia. The purpose of the trip is to reset the relationship between the U.S. and the three countries. The Biden administration would like to encourage American businesses to invest in African nations to compete with China’s and Russia’s growing economic footholds on the continent.

On Monday, Harris visited Ghana’s presidential palace, also known as the Jubilee House. She promised $100 million in U.S. aid to support Ghana and four other West African countries in curbing instability brought on by insurgencies in West Africa and the Sahel region.

"To help address the threats of violent extremism and instability, today I am pleased to announce $100 million in support of Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire and Togo," Harris said at the news conference with Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo.

This amount is in addition to the $139 million in bilateral support that the U.S. intends to provide to Ghana in 2024, according to Harris’ office and reported by Reuters.

Also involved in West Africa is the Russian private military contractor Wagner Group. The mercenary group with Russian state ties provides security assistance to African nations struggling with insurgencies like the ones Harris pledged assistance to combat. In exchange, Wagner secures agreements for Russia's African interests in natural resources, commercial contracts, and access to strategic locations, such as airbases or ports.

With regard to Wagner’s presence in West Africa, Akufo-Addo said, "It raises the very real possibility ... that once again our continent is going to become the playground for great power conflict.”

China has been heavily involved in Africa’s economy over the last two decades — investing in resources like mining, timber, and fishing, and building infrastructure. The Biden administration is aiming to encourage American competition by strengthening ties with African nations and promoting socio-economic development on the continent. The trip is also intended to fulfill the commitment that the administration made to African countries in the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in December of last year.

Politico reported that Harris’ visit carries high stakes and heavy scrutiny because her primary task will be to convince African leaders that the U.S. wants to invest in their economies earnestly.

The decades-long public perception has been that the African continent has become a playground for handouts and charity from western governments, a political and economic oversight the Biden administration has been attempting to rectify. Harris’ arrival in Africa marks the administration’s most recent efforts to achieve that.

Earlier this year, U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen visited the continent, First Lady Jill Biden visited in February, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the trip earlier this month. President Biden plans to visit later this year.
Photo: DSTV

How ‘Big Brother Naija’ Stans Redefined Stan Culture

Hardcore fans of the Nigerian version of the reality show are showing a positive side to fandom that may have been overshadowed in recent years.

A few years ago, just after calls for auditions to appear in the Lockdown season of Big Brother Naija were made, a Twitter user posted a provocative tweet: "Why does Big Brother only seem to appeal to the most rabid and debased people?"The question caused an uproar among many fans of the show, who leapt to defend themselves against the label and unfair generalization. But a lot of the comments that followed did little to disprove the statement made in the initial tweet.

The tweet didn’t come out of nowhere. Since the show's reboot in 2017, Big Brother Naija fans had earned a reputation for being vicious; they harassed anyone who was critical of their favorite housemate or passed a comment about them that wasn’t effusive praise. In fact, outside of social media, some ex-housemates had complained about being threatened by fans of a fellow housemate over misunderstandings during their season of the show.

The season that Levelled Up – BBNaija | Big Brother: Level Up | Africa

The toxicity of Big Brother fans has remained a constant conversation during the reunion shows. Even when housemates address their fans and ask them to desist from online harassment and bullying, it only seems to fuel their passion even more. “Most BBNaija fans enjoy general banter or what we've come to term as ‘cooking’ when it comes to the show,” AfroVii, a longtime fan and commentator of the show, tells OkayAfrica. “There is however a very small minority that takes pride in being as abusive as they can legally get away with.”

AfroVii, who prefers we refer to her by her Twitter handle, also found the “rabid and debased” tweet dismissive of the show and the entire viewership experience, and set about reclaiming it, ironically, referring to herself as well as other BBNaija watchers as rabid and debased. It soon caught on and became a sort of inside joke with many from the BBNaija fandom community referring to themselves as the R&D, short for Rabid and Debased. “It's a case of, ‘That’s okay, we claim it, what else?’” she adds.

Becoming a Big Brother Naija stan

However, as we know, online harassment and bullying aren’t defining qualities of only BBNaija fans. Stans, as they’re called – after the Eminem track, “Stan,” in which a man details his dangerous obsession with the rapper — can be found across the entertainment board, from music to sport. Excessive fandom can lead to a zealous attachment to the public figure, in which stans take action against anyone who points out flaws or isn’t as adoring of their idol.

Spend enough time on Twitter and you’ll find many examples of fans going overboard to the point of threatening violence towards those critical of their favorites. The neurotic behavior of stans isn't peculiar to Big Brother Naija fans, and so to single them out for being “rabid and debased” is to frame a dishonest narrative. There are a growing number of Big Brother Naija fans who have gone on to use their fandom for good.

From bullying to community-building

An image of former Big Brother Naija contestant Erica smiling at the camera.Former ‘Big Brother Naija’ housemate Erica Nlewedim’s fans call themselves “Elites for Erica.” Photo: DSTV

When Big Brother Naija housemate Erica Nlewedim was disqualified from the game in 2020 over a drunken fit that led to her hurling abuse at fellow housemates, she apologized for her actions and accepted her disqualification in good faith. She had not expected to be embraced by a myriad of fans, who overlooked her hasty actions in the house. Prior to that, she was a fun housemate, the life of the party, and had developed an organic romantic relationship with a fellow housemate that endeared her to millions of viewers across Africa.

“I watched the show and got emotionally attached to Erica, and felt the two initial strikes before the disqualification [were] unfair,” Cynthia Adjes, a fan of Nlewedim’s and ardent viewer of the show, told OkayAfrica. “So when she got disqualified, I was sad and contributed to the GoFundMe.”

The GoFundMe Adjes refers to is a fundraising account that she and many others supported. Disappointed by Big Brother Naija's decision to disqualify Erica, one of her fans, Ehizode Irefo (whose Twitter account is now deactivated), set up a GoFundMe with a target of $100,000 – almost the dollar equivalent of the game's prize money of N30 million. The money was to help her pursue her acting and filmmaking dreams. The GoFundMe netted $66,000.

Today, Nlewedim is one of the biggest celebrities in Nigeria, with over 3 million followers on Instagram and a reality show on MTV Africa. Her fans, who go by the name “Elites for Erica,” have become a kind of social club, going on to help others beyond the BBNaija contestant they love so much. The “Elites for Erica” help share work and educational opportunities for fellow staunch fans, and raise money for projects like the construction of a borehole in an under-served area in Lagos.

A similar situation occurred with 2019 Big Brother Naija housemate Tacha Akide. Having already been issued two warning strikes, she was disqualified when she got into a scuffle with fellow housemate and eventual winner of the show, Mercy Eke. Her fans, the “Tacha Titans,” thought the disqualification was unfair and decided to start a GoFundMe to support her financially. But Akide quickly declined the offer when she learned of it. Her fans still sent money and gifts to her individually. For Akide’s birthday in December 2021, her fans decided to send in donations, some from as early as April of that year – that’s how committed they are.

Her fans would get hashtags to trend every Wednesday to raise awareness about the upcoming birthday. But the generosity continued even after Akide’s special day, and extended beyond her. “Tacha Titans” also began creating hashtags for different purposes.

“For instance, if someone’s had a sudden death in their family, they can use the hashtag to announce it and we will send our condolences,” Mide, a business analyst based in the U.K., who runs the stan account @hourlytacha and prefers not to use a last name, tells OkayAfrica. “And if we can help in any way, we help. Just something to keep the fanbase together, to let everyone know you are not alone in this. You need someone to talk to or if you need help in any way, you can always use the hashtag. You need a job, you never know who's watching and who will reach out.”

She adds, “We had Titans Skills Acquisition in 2020 where one thousand Titans learnt [one] skill or another to help them during the pandemic.”

Sharing the love

While the disqualifications of Nlewedim and Akide may have inspired the generosity of their fans, other ex-Big Brother Naija housemates have also experienced such generosity to various degrees with each new season. Because Big Brother Naija in itself is a competitive show, many times rival fan groups, who want to outdo each other, give or donate according to how much they want to see their favorite housemate succeed.

An image of former Big Brother Naija contestant Tacha smiling at the camera.Fans of former ‘Big Brother Naija’ housemate Tacha Akide have become known for helping others in need of support or encouragement.Photo: DSTV

This rivalry has helped build a community of philanthropy that lives on beyond whatever happens in the house. It’s a community that can have a delible impact. Last year ex-Big Brother housemate Rico Swavey was a victim of a ghastly motor accident that left him unconscious. A last-minute fundraiser was announced and the BBNaija community immediately rallied to send funds that would expedite his treatment when a Lagos hospital demanded an N4.2 million deposit before they could treat him. Swavey, unfortunately, died a few days after the accident.

And fans are capable of providing support to even someone who has zero ties to Big Brother itself, as seen in their charitable services to orphanages and educational sponsorships of those from less privileged backgrounds.

Acts of generosity by Big Brother stans do not, in any way, excuse the online harassment or bullying that many dole out. But there are fans of the reality series that show there’s another layer to this fandom that may get drowned out by online squabbles and Twitter wars.

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