Letter from Africa: Beyoncé, Bashir and Big Brother to dominate 2019
January 4, 2019 - Written by admin

In our series of letters from African journalists, media and communications trainer Joseph Warungu writes about what he will be looking out for in 2019.

After consistently losing out in football bets last year, I have little confidence in predicting anything for 2019 beyond the fact that the sun will rise and set in Africa.

But this much I know without a shadow of doubt: Africa in the coming year will be focused on the beast, the ballot and Big Brother.

The African version of the famous reality TV show, which started 16 years ago in South Africa, will be launched in Sierra Leone in 2019.

And it is promising to be big. Already 2,000 application forms for Big Brother Sierra Leone have been sold.

With a top prize of about $12,000 (£9,400) and the chance to be really famous, it is already the talk of the town, following the success of Big Sister last year, the country’s first-ever reality TV show.
Africa Cup of Nations

For six weeks starting in February, Sierra Leonean TV viewers will be pinned to their seats watching 20 men and women stuck in a house, with nowhere to go and nothing much to do.

What Sierra Leoneans will sorely miss are their 11 men fighting to become African football champions.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Kenyan fans are hoping their team will perform well in Africa’s biggest football tournament

The world football governing body, Fifa, disqualified the West African state from the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations campaign due to government interference in the national football association.

Ghana and Kenya were the beneficiaries of Sierra Leone’s exit from Group F.

For the first time, the tournament will shift from its traditional January and February slot to June and July. The number of teams will also rise from 16 to 24.
Pressure mounts on Sudan’s leader

My money will be on one country that has qualified for the finals for the first time in 15 years.

It is Kenya. The East African state produces people who are very good at running. In Africa’s premiere football tournament, the challenge will be for the Harambee Stars to run well with the ball.

Joseph Warungu:
Image copyright BBC Sema Kenya

As for Nigeria, we now know for sure that the giant of Africa is not led by a man from Sudan.

If they are kicked out, they could always find consolation in the other major sporting event on the continent in 2019 – the All Africa Games.

It takes place in Morocco from August and will also serve as an Olympic qualifier for 2020, the games taking place in Tokyo, where temperatures will be hot.

In Sudan it’s the bread that’s proving too hot to handle.

Its price rose from 2 to 3 Sudanese pounds about two weeks ago, triggering protests in the capital, Khartoum, and other parts of the country.

The protests about the rising cost of living quickly turned into demands for President Omar al-Bashir to resign.