After 71 days of laughter, tears and adventure, the Big Brother Mzansi journey came to an end on Sunday after a two-hour live show, with Michelle “Mphowabadimo” Mvundla outplaying her 19 fellow housemates to the R2 million grand prize.
With viewers in denial because their favourites did not win, conspiracy theories soon began flying around, with some saying the sangoma used muthi to win. Those who badly wanted Themba Mabaso or Brandon “Gash1” Mthombeni to win said the votes were rigged in Mvundla’s favour for PR reasons and that she won because of her spiritual calling.
Mphowabadimo has slammed those claims and said her fans kept her in the game:
Being a sangoma is not something I asked for in life, it is a gift, it is who I am, that is why I am Mphowabadimo. I did lose myself at some point in the house.
“I went inside the house with a plan of not disclosing that I am a sangoma because I did not want that to affect the game. In the first week, I kind of had an out-of-body experience and that showed me that I needed to be myself,” she said.
The 27-year-old from Daveyton said she would take any opportunity that allows her to re-educate society, break stereotypes and change perceptions about sangomas and spiritual callings. She said she did not want to convince people, but to show different dynamics to who spiritual healers are.
When asked about how she felt about being the first woman to win the game, Mphowabadimo said it had not yet sunk in.
“I am still overwhelmed, I need to process all of this. It has only been a few hours, so I am still trying to adjust to being outside the house and my new reality.”
Reflecting on her journey, she said:
It has changed me a lot. I have grown, I have healed, I’m a bigger person than I was walking into the house. I am grateful for this experience. I will never be the same.
The flirty runner-up, entrepreneur and fashion designer Gash1 said his plan was to grow his business.
“Prior to the show, it was hard. Even after the show it will be hard, but I never relied on the R2 million to make my dreams come true, to be honest. This has always been my journey and vision, I am still walking that journey and I will make sure that it happens.”
The 28-year-old from Pretoria also mentioned his interest in growing his relationship with Thato Mokoena.
Tattoo artist Mabaso, who was the third to be evicted from the top five, was evidently torn and could not fake smiles as he thought he would be the winner.
The 30-year-old from Alexandra said he played a great game and that no one saw him coming. The attention he has been getting outside the Big Brother house is getting to him, though:
The attention is too much. If I could, I would tone it down a little bit.
Shirley Adonisi, director of local entertainment channels at M-Net, said their relationship with Mvundla was set to continue beyond the show.
“It’s not like our relationship with her ends here, she is going to need a lot more of our support, not from just a psychological aspect but from many aspects. I think the cue will come from her in terms of what direction she would like to follow. If she wants to just disappear for a while then we will respect that,” said Adonisi, adding that they would make an announcement should there be plans for a fourth season of Big Brother Mzansi.