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Zambian Woman Wins Controversial  <i>Big Brother Africa</i> Show - 2003-09-08


A 24-year-old Zambian woman is taking much of Africa by storm after winning the popular but controversial reality show Big Brother Africa.

As estimated 30 million television viewers across Africa watched as Cherise Makubale won a $100,000 prize.

Ms. Makubale was confined to a house in South Africa with 11 contestants from other countries. Their every move was captured by television cameras and each week the contestants voted to evict the housemates one by one. After more than 100 days, Ms. Makubale, a procurement officer, was the last person left.

Zambia erupted in a frenzy late Sunday after the winner was announced. People drove through the streets honking their horns and singing. Three Zambian newspapers headlined her victory, and radio stations have been playing songs in her honor.

Big Brother Africa came under sharp criticism from political and religious leaders who said the show was "immoral" and too explicit. Namibia's president tried to get the show banned, while in Zambia church leaders started a petition to get the show off the air.

But the controversy does not worry the young Ms. Makubale, who says she can't wait to get home and buy her father a new house.

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