On NTV-Uganda’s Be My Date: A Total Turn-off?

April 20th 2014.

Easter Sunday evening.

I am watching Television. All signs of a lazy evening. I have been re-reading Amartya Sen’s Freedom as Development, and an article critiquing both Sen’s perspective on Development, and Jeffrey Sachs’ is taking shape. I have been thinking of this for a while. We, in the stereotyped poor African continent urgently need to put a stop to this madness. We may as well start defining poverty and under development and speak up for our own version of development, dignity and freedom.
Anyways, while I am thinking, some beat on TV invites me. It is NewsBeat. Two rappers are rapping the news. In Luganda. I had seen the show being praised by Joshua Mmali on his wall, but I did not really follow up the link. Now, I am hooked. Survivor (Daniel Kisekka) and Lady Slyke (Sharon Bwogi) have it going. After the show, I take to Google, and learn that this show has an English version too. With due respect, I think the Lugaflow flows better. It’s original. It is real. I learn that the idea was picked from Senegal, but not to worry, I love it. Rhyme with reason is their slogan. Cool. (See more about NewzBeat here).
More mundane TV programming follows. Then, at 8pm, this thing called Be My Date airs. It has been advertised for a while, but I am shocked, when it finally airs. A group of girls are paraded, and a boy appears, they are all dancing, and the host asks the girls to press Red if they do not like the boy or green, if they do. They all hate the first dude to turn up. Second dude comes. A reasonable number press green. He chooses two of them, and then asks them questions, to choose one. Then we are told that these two will go to a popular hotel to spend some time knowing each other. Some Ugandan Facebookers are not impressed.

Moreen Kimberly “Total turn off. Abanoonya redefined.”
James Zeere @Hahaha… this show has nothing on abanoonya! Abanoonya is miles ahead because it is relevant to it’s target audience, have no idea who this show is targeting!”
She Nat “What’s this NTV Be my Date program intended to cure? Lack of men in Kampala or so many 20 year olds desperate 4 men? Father Lokodo, we need a Bill.”
Nimrod Muhumuza “Misogynistic, sexist, patriarchal, chauvinistic and a bunch of other adjectives define NTV’s next failed venture Be My Date. Deeply embarrassing!”
Rwamuguma Mwene Rwabituuza “The consummerism finally catches up… TV reality dating… young girls parading themselves for the bachelor… huuh.”
Allan Brian Ssenyonga “Now see these NTV Uganda jokers with an English version of abanoonya. Shame!”


Anita Fabiola, host of NTV’s Be My Date show.  Photo credit BigEye.ug
For the uninitiated, abanoonya is a Luganda TV show where singles search for lovers, by specifying specific attributes they require, and posing for the camera. Abanoonya has popularized Bukkedde TV, and has been praised for being original and hilarious. One wonders if NTV’s Be My Date will equal Abanoonya’s popularity. Or if NTV aims at following in the footsteps of Bukkedde TV, so much they are borrowing ideas. Probably from the place where the idea of NewsBeat came, other ideas may come, assuming that NewsBeat is not an idea conceived away from NTV’s producers’ chambers. Or maybe it will follow Minibuzz, on its way off the NTV screen.