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BBNaija: Building strong communities and reliable fandoms

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Some fans of BBNaija’s Mike during one of their outings

There is arguably no show on African TV that draws the type of following or fanaticism that Big Brother Naija does.

Each season since it made its comeback, a new crop of converts join the already humongous fan base of the show who are always prepared to pick up arms and go to war on social media for their favourite housemates.

This year alone, BBNaija conversations across social media platforms have earned up to a billion digital impressions daily, according to Keyhole Insights gathered by ID Africa. But beyond the fanaticism that one sees on social media, the show is helping fans build communities and real friendships that outlive each season of BBNaija.

Mofijesusewa Samuel, a content creator and Khafi fan from last season fell utterly in love with Khafi.

“I could identify with the way she loved Gedoni, her heart, her kind words, the way she stuck by her principles, and above all, her immense ability to love people, no matter how flawed. Every time I saw more people show love for her on social media, it reinforced the idea that I had chosen a worthy person to support. I voted, I canvassed, and I supported her with everything I had. It’s been over a year and I still stan.”

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While Samuel hasn’t joined a WhatsApp group for Khafinators (as fans of Khafi are called), she says she gets some comfort in knowing that she could if she wanted to.

What we refer to as ‘fandoms’ has become for many, a community. It has become an avenue to make friends, share ideas, rub minds, make money and show love and support to each other.

One of Mike’s supporters from last year says that she’s built friendships with other people who were also avid supporters. An entrepreneur, Onome, thinks it’s amazing how the show and the love for a housemate can bring together different people from different tribes. She says, “It has helped every one of us a lot. We cry together, we laugh together, we patronize each other, give to each other, and connect each other when it’s needed. We are sisters from another mother. It’s amazing that Big Brother Naija could bring people from different backgrounds and tribes together.”

BBNaija Pepper Dem had some of the most dedicated fans, many of whom are still die-hard fans of their favourite housemates. From the Mercenaries to Frodd Nation and Members of the Cruise ship. This year, we are seeing a new set of fandoms from BBNaija Lockdown edition, and they seem to be fiercer than ever.

Laycon’s Icons are constantly creating new music for the petite superstar that they want to bring home the 85 million naira grand prize. Erica’s Elites are always ready to go to war, the Waya Dem Gang never forget to remind us how humble Kiddwaya is, while Ozo’s Superions is the silent but powerful group.

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The current housemates already realised the power of fan bases long before they came into the house and had created a name for their fandoms from their first week in the house. In the first week of the show, recently-evicted housemate, Tolanibaj announced via her diary session that she wanted her fans to be called ‘T-Force’. Afterwards, the handlers of all the other housemates began to name their fans. Fandoms like Dorathy’s D’Exploras, Ozo’s Superions, Nengi’s Ninjas and Prince’s Royal Army are some of the most active fan bases this season.

Each of these fandoms is always ready to defend their chosen housemates, vote for them, fight for them and even show up for them. Many of these new fandoms already have Whatsapp and Telegram groups where they decide how to vote and when to vote. Many of them even have sponsors who help those who can’t afford to vote as much, just to make sure they keep their favourite housemates in the game. When this season ends, many of the groups will set up ‘meets and greets’ in different states across the country. Some fandoms will even create ‘meets and greets’ in other African countries, fully funded by the fans.

Even after the meet and greets are all done, many of these fan groups will remain as one community. Many people become friends, make new relationships, and create a new clique fueled by love.

Another Mike superfan, Ayisa says that they never disbanded their ‘Cruise’ group after BBNaija Pepper Dem edition, and they still meet up regularly. She says, ‘I have enjoyed getting to know different people from different backgrounds. We are sisters now; we share more than just a common love for BBN. We discuss life issues, give and receive advice, and patronize each other’s businesses. It’s awesome’.

Ayisa’s story is also corroborated by yet another Mike supporter, Enytan LA, who says the community has helped her in so many different ways including keeping her sane at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. “We celebrate birthdays and other achievements of members of the group. We also check on members when we notice long periods of inactivity from them”, she added.

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If any of these new fandoms ever become as big as the Mercenaries or Team Mike, it would mean that Big Brother Naija has once again created a movement. Like it or not, the fandoms are the real fuel of the show and knowing that they’ve found a way to build something positive around it, makes it all worth it.

With barely two weeks to the season finale, fans are more than ever campaigning vigorously for their favorite housemate to win the N85 million grand prize.

Voting opens Monday nights at 10pm and closes Thursdays at 10 pm. Viewers can vote via Mobile and Web whilst DStv and GOtv customers in Nigeria can vote via SMS and the MyDStv and MyGOtv apps.

This season, DStv and GOtv viewers will enjoy more votes via the MyDStv and MyGOtv apps to keep their favourite BBNaija housemates in the house. DStv Premium customers will get 2,500 votes; Compact Plus will have 1,500 votes; Compact customers will get 750 votes while Confam and Yanga customers will get 500 and 200 votes respectively.

For GOtv customers on Max, they get 350 votes and GOtv Jolli customers get 200 votes. Voting on the MyDStv and MyGOtv apps is open only to subscribers in Nigeria with eligible packages and an active subscription.

Fansa can still enjoy the 24/7 live Big Brother Naija LockDown experience on DStv channel 198 and GOtv Max and Jolli on channel 29. Sign up to DStv today via www.dstvafrica.com or get GOtv Max or Jolli on www.gotvafrica.com

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