Launching Housemates Salone Season 2, Africell’s John Konteh and AYV’s Phebean Swill, on Thursday 30th July 2020, whilst moderating the show, which took place at the Lagonda Complex in Aberdeen, Freetown, welcomed all guests including the Ministers of Information, Mohamed Rahman Swaray, Youth Affairs, Mohamed Orman Bangura and Tourism, Dr. Memunatu Pratt, CEO of Africell, Shadi Gerjawi and AYV’s CEO Anthony Navo Jnr., Housemates Salone Season 1 participants, including the winner, Kenchin Palmer and Miss Sierra Leone, Enid Jones-Boston, as well as other important personalities.
To allay the fears of all viewers and participants on health issues, John Konteh stated that every participant will be tested in addition to all other health tests. All forms can be paid for via Afrimoney and a transaction ID will be given to access the forms.
Making a brief statement at the launching of the show, Africell’s CEO recalled that this show needs no further explanation, as was the case in the first show. He furthered that during every stage of the show, they have made sure that the necessary health precautions are observed, as could be seen in the very event taking place.
He further encouraged citizens and viewers to continue to observe all the safety precautions directed by the government. Whilst recognizing the progress made so far by the government and people of Sierra Leone in the fight against COVID-19, he explained that consultations with the officials of NaCOVERC has resulted in the necessary preparations for the show and that when the show starts, all participants will be quarantined in the house with no contact with the outside world. Whilst people stay home in observance of social distancing, they now have the quarantine drama to watch and keep time in their homes. On the timing of the show, CEO Gerjawi said that this is the time to hold this show and help people stay at home and watch the show that will be on 24 hours a day.
In his own statement, Ambassador Navo disclosed that Housemates Salone Season 2 of 2020 has excitements beyond belief and this year’s theme is captioned ‘Quarantine Drama’, which is in realization of the state of affairs in the fight against the disease. He furthered that the Star Prize for this show is Le250 million and a round trip to Dubai. He maintained that the daily Le100, 000 payments to each participant whilst in the house will continue and has nothing to do with the Star prize.
Amb. Navo maintained that the aim of Africell and AYV in such show is to empower young Sierra Leoneans and expose them to the world. He recalled the exposure given to the first winner of the Season 1, Kenchin Palmer, with a round trip to the UK. Forms he said, will be available on the 1st August at Le150, 000, (same as last year) from all Africell and AYV offices nationwide. For interested participants in Sierra Leone, the number to access their forms is 088 201020 (Afrimoney number), a ‘fast track’ for those in the diaspora is available on line. They can apply on line through Africell and AYV websites; and can do their videos and send them to the judges on line. They will be interviewed on line. Closing date for receipt of all applications is the 21ST August 2020, and audition will take place on the first week in September. On 21st September 2020, Audition will close and 40 finalists will be chosen who will then battle for the final 20. The final 20 will go into the house on 14th September 2020.
In his statement, the supervising Minister, Mohamed Rahman Swaray of the Ministry of Information, expressed joy in being able to grace this occasion, as he missed out last year. He hoped that Stars will be born in this season. “This show sits very well with the vision of the President,” he said, adding that it gives a generation of young people the opportunity to realize their dream and show case, as well as discover their talents. He admonished all to stay focused, compete and triumph. He congratulated the organizers for making the show possible. He stated that the First Lady, Madam Fatima Bio, who is more passionate about entertainment and His Excellency, President Julius Maada Bio, will be watching the show. He wished all participants a good time and luck.
Mohamed Orman Bangura, Minister of Youth Affairs, said that the government has invested so much in youths and is supporting programs like these to develop the youths. He is hopeful that this show will build up the necessary confidence in youths and enable them to resist being used by politicians in negative engagements.
Officially launching the show, Minister of Tourism, Dr. Memunatu Pratt, stressed that COVID-19 has had heavy impact on the industry, but shows like this will enable Sierra Leone to overcome the impact. Dealing with COVID and implementing tourism is challenging, she maintained, as such shows demand people presence. “This event will change the fortunes of the country and attract international attention. This venture is extremely laudable, as it is heavy Private Sector investment” Minister Pratt stressed. Salone Housemates 2020 is going to be historic, as everybody have defied all odds and given the society a new lease of life and taken the stress out of people. Sierra Leone’s entertainment has grown up.
Dr. Memunatu Pratt furthered that the Housemates Salone Season 2 is the first public event done under COVID, and will bring Tourism alive. Adding that it is an important event, as Sierra Leone has showcased ICT. She admonished participants to do their best, as it is the first rebranding show in Africa amidst difficult times. She then officially launched “Housemates Salone 2020, the Last Standing Couple”, on the theme ‘Quarantine Drama’.
Present at the ceremony were artists, female activists and members of the Fourth Estate.
(C) The Calabash Newspaper