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Literary Circle

12 African Book Characters We’d Love to See in Big Brother Naija

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What’s your favorite part of a Big Brother Naija season? The Drama? The contests? The scheming? The commotion? The controversial moments in a divided house?

It’s difficult to imagine the last two years in Nigerian pop culture without Big Brother Naija. The show has attained mainstream status and influenced the online world in profound ways. Now, considering the delightful commotion that was last year and what this year’s edition is becoming, imagine a Big Brother Naija house with your favorite characters from your favourite books.

Whether it be Ifemelu’s (Americanah) biting wit, Neni’s (Behold the Dreamers) resilience, Yejide’s (Stay With Me) grating naivety, or Okonkwo’s (Things Fall Apart) stubborn machismo, these characters below would come together for a truly memorable Big Brother Naija season.

So I drew up a list of favs and asked my friends to pitch in. And now, here are your BB9ja housemates:

*Drumroll*

1. Kainene (Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

Because she’s badass. The silent brooding one. The snob. They’d (other housemates) probably all hate her. Nigerians would possibly keep her in the house until much later, just because we’d want to uncover her mysterious demenour. Oh, plus she’s skinny and not exactly pretty, so throw in Twitter and IG body shaming memes.

2. Okonkwo (Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe)

One of the most iconic characters in African literary history, Okonkwo would make for a pretty interesting watch. The archetypal alpha male, Okonkwo is the in-your-face powerful guy that embodies traditional African machismo. I’m sure we’d like to see a power struggle; this must happen considering how dictatorial his character is. We’d also want him to inspire conversations about the ideal Nigerian lady killer. In all, e go worry o, but e go make di show sweet.

3. Kusi Kintu (Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi)

In a book full where no female character was afraid to stand out, it was always going to be hard to pick a character. But you see this woman called Kusi? Fear her. She made a very brief appearance, but she made it count. She’s ballsy, commanding, inspires fear, and is the true definition of “scatter everywhere!” Oh, how we would love to see her square up against Okonkwo in the house. Boom!

4. Enitan (Everything Good Will Come by Sefi Atta)

Fierce, defiant and unfuckwithable, most of the voting audience would hate her, but she would be the face of countless Nigerian women middle-fingering the patriarchy every day.

5. Ifemelu (Americana by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie)

There’s no making this list without Ifemelu. She would be the snobbish, stuck up housemate that overthinks. Think of a more understated Tboss. Voters would lose their minds over Ifemelu not being “real” enough. They would call her unAfrican and accuse her of “forming Americanah” (see that? Haha). Then someone would dig up her history with Obinze, label her a home wrecker and people would troll her on Twitter even after the show ends.

6. Abu (When We Speak of Nothing by Olumide Popoola)

Abu would be everyone’s person. A people pleaser with a bubbly attitude. Also awkward around the girls so that would make a cute sight. He’d most likely be the unifying factor in the house. Think of a younger, slightly more awkward Sulu (from Big Brother Africa 2013). Oh, and that South London lingo!

7. Delores (Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn)

One of the older characters, Delores is the mother of gaslighting. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered anyone more manipulative, either in books, TV, film, or in real life. Oh, and the mouth on that woman! Yoruba people are learning work, I tell you.

8. Reza (Season of Crimson Blossoms by Abubakar Adam Ibrahim)

Reza, just because there’s a mystery about him. Dark and brooding, but still very appealing. Thug. Basically, person “wey don see life.” I shudder when I imagine him clash with Okonkwo in the house. He’d probably be evicted within the first few weeks, though.

9. Wurche (The Hundred Wells of Salaga by Ayesha Harruna Attah)

Wurche, the boyish, gutsy princess more interested in politics than learning to be a good wife. As to her role in the Big Brother Naija house, I’ll leave that to your imagination. 😏

10. Neni (Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue)

Optimistic, never-back-down, unassuming Neni. Doesn’t like wahala. She’s cool with you if you’re cool with her, but she will deal with you if you cross her. She’s also very self-conscious and it would show among characters from more affluent backgrounds. If I could bet on any character to win the Big Brother Naija grand prize, it would have to be Neni.

11. Faisi (Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga)

Ah, this woman can lieeeeeee! Her expertise as a bullshit artist is phenomenal. Oh, and she is also a “spirikoko” as well, devout and unyielding. Think: The Lord’s Chosen on steroids. Also, please, dear housemates, don’t let her anywhere near the kitchen, for your own good.

12. Yejide (Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo)

Aww Yejide. Cute, diligent, impressionable Yejide. Strong character, yet not do interesting. Everyone would like her, sure enough. But we’d soon get tired of her and vote her out. No hard feelings.

There you have it! 12 Characters that we’d totally love to see in the Big Brother Naija house. Did I miss anyone important? Let’s compare notes in the comments section. Also, SHARE this post to your friends, let’s pepper dem!

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