‘My faith carried me inside the house’: BBM season 3 winner talks about mental health

Housemates underwent psychological tests before the final round of auditions to analyse if they are fit to be in the house.

Mental health issues are on the rise and solutions to curb the silent killer are not as yet known.

Being in the Big Brother House is no exception.

While the contestants are protected inside the house, they are still subjected to the opinions of society.

At a media briefing on Monday, the Commissioning Editor in MultiChoice Group, Sipho Ngwenya, addressed the contestants’ mental health ahead of the competition.

“Housemates underwent psychological tests before the final round of auditions to analyse if they are fit to be in the house,” he said, adding that the contestants had access to a psychologist whilst in the house.

Lawrence Maleka, the season’s host, also added that some housemates were triggered when opening up in the first task. 

“The crew was always ready to assist the housemates by providing access to a psychologist,” he said.

“Big Brother saw us when we thought the world had forgotten about us,” said season three winner Mphowabadimo Mvundla, adding that her faith carried her inside the house.

Season 3 winner Mphowabadimo. Picture: Thahasello Mphatsoe

Having to play the game mentally you ask yourself: is the game based on the fastest, smartest or loudest person. This season was nothing Mpho expected it to be and she touched on the fact that it reflected on the youth.

Losing yourself in the game is easy as there are many challenges thrown at you, and keeping your head above the water might be difficult at times.

WATCH: Importance of mental health in the Big Brother Mzansi house

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Mpho mentioned that she lost herself in the house numerous times; and she shed a lot of herself in the house.  Having to disclose her calling to her fellow housemates and South Africa as a whole was a difficult task for her; as she had no intentions of disclosing that she’s a traditional healer- a sangoma- as the R2 million rand winner didn’t want that to affect her game.

However, the first task given to them by Big Brother forced the contestants to let loose and open up about their life experiences and background; and also taught her that it’s okay to cry and to be weak.

“The big brother experience was an emotional time for me; because I needed to heal from past experiences,” said Mpho, who calls herself Advocate of Idlozi (ancestors).  

Many people stigmatise being a traditional healer as black magic or a bad omen but she explains that being in the house broke so many stereotypes regarding her calling. She added that her calling isn’t something she asked for but rather a gift from God.

Plans for future seasons 

According to Director of Local Entertainment Channel of M-Net, Shirley Adonisi, a lot of research and debriefing will take place to see what the production team can do better for the next season. The success of Big Brother Mzansi season three has given the team optimism and they feel they did something right.

Shirley says BBM season three was the most watched show outside of sports in South Africa with 343 million votes cast as people worked around the housemates’ schedule.  

She referred to the show as an addiction; because it’s a 24/7 pop-up channel and also that you can’t miss whose being evicted.

Outside world

When Gashwan Brandon Mthombeni, aka Gash1, was asked if he has adjusted to life after Big Brother he mentioned that he believes that mentally he has adjusted to his new norm; and also that interacting with people doesn’t necessarily mean you haven’t adjusted.

He states he had already anticipated the outcome before entering the house.

Gash says he looks forward to building a future with ‘Lady Immaculate’, known as Thato.

According to the runner-up, his motivation was fuelled by the fact that he believes in himself and had already envisioned himself in the finale.

Gash says staying true to who he was was a challenge in the BBM house hence he created an alter ego as it was more of a protective gear for people not to see his true self.

Dealing with hate comments

Fellow housemate Thando Mcopela, aka Acacia, 30, from Soweto explains how she dealt with comments on social media; and the hatred that came after being on the show.                                                   

“There’ll always be hate comments and positive ones; but I chose to focus on the positive even though the negative comments would hurt.”

“Firstly, you need to ask yourself why you’re in the house; secondly I understand what triggers me. Thirdly, just keep calm,” Thando said.

“Having people that love you, and share the same sentiment as you can help keep your head high,” fellow BBM contestant Luthando Mthembu, aka B.U, 31, concluded.

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