The controversial scene between Lexi and Mandla of Big Brother.

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Reality television show Big Brother Mzansi has all the elements of a Hollywood drama, except it is not scripted, it’s real.

Take 18 strangers from across the country, put them in a house where they have no access to the outside world or their families, where they sleep in communal bedrooms and use communal showers, and you are bound to have scandals.

From unprotected sex in the shower to couples cheating on each other, this season of Big Brother, which ends tonight, kept millions of South Africans glued to their screens.

Durban contestant Jason du Plessis, 22, spent 42 days in the house, something he says he is very proud of.

“I have always been a fan of Big Brother so when I heard that there would be another season and I was (old) enough to audition, I did, and when I got the call back I was very excited,” he said.

As the youngest contestant, Du Plessis, a marketing student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, said it was exciting at first.

“The adrenalin makes you feel like you are on top of the world. You are excited to meet all the different people in the house, but it did become difficult, especially when my friends were voted out of the house. They were my support system, and then I started missing my family and friends,” he said.

Du Plessis was in a steamy romance with housemate Kat Mohoaduba that turned sour after she kissed another housemate and lied about it.

“Kat is a beautiful person and I had a great time with her on the show. She is lovely, but when the show is finally over all I want to do is be her friend and move away from the drama that took place in the house,” he said.

On life after Big Brother, Du Plessis said it was as crazy as being in the house. “Everyone knows your business and everyone has judged you by what you did in the house.

“My fans are great and I love them and it’s cool having people stop you and ask to have a picture taken with you, but there are also the haters, who I have just learnt to ignore.”

On housemates Lexi and Mandla, who caused an outcry when they had unprotected sex in the shower, Du Plessis said: “It is a crazy place with crazy experiences, and although I was shocked by Lexi and Mandla getting together, I can’t judge them on what happened in the shower.”

Nomphelo Ndzimela, publicity manager for Local Interest Channels, which produces Big Brother, said the show had always generated controversy, and viewer opinions varied widely around the world.

“Due to the success of previous editions of Big Brother Africa among South African audiences; and the desire of these audiences to view a local version of the show, M-Net’s Mzansi Magic channel created Big Brother Mzansi,” she said.

The show’s selection team looks for housemates who are vocal, fun-loving, creative, original and articulate. Housemates are also expected be tolerant of views and lifestyle choices other than their own and must have the social flexibility to live in close proximity.

Of criticisms of the shower sex scene, Ndzimela said: “While viewers may draw their own conclusions from the actions or behaviours of housemates, ultimately it is only the housemates themselves who can comment on their decisions.

“As such, questions regarding their relationships, and the nature of those, can only be answered by the housemates directly on their exit from the house.”

The finale airs on Sunday on Mzansi Magic channel 161 and Ndzimela promised a few surprises.

Sunday Independent