Tujuane: Dating show exposes class rifts amid questions of its authenticity

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Every Friday for the last few weeks, Kenyans have been glued to the reality show Tujuane on KTN for entertainment purposes as well as getting a few dating tips. It’s all about watching people go on that first date and seeing if the seeds of love can grow from it. At the end of every episode, social media comes alive with an analysis of what happened. One show that got a lot of attention for all the wrong reasons was the date between George and Susan (Mirfat Musa).

It was one of those dates that leave you wondering what happened. George was excited and hoping for the best but by the end of it all, his hopes had been torn to pieces. Susan shredded everything about him beginning with his wanting to order fries for her. According to her, fries are for poor people. Throughout the date, she put him down, showing he was of a lower level than her. She picked at his language, his choice of music, and his hobbies. It was all centered on her and the fantastic high life she lives.

Within minutes of the show airing, people on twitter were in uproar. People started the hunt to find her handle; words were aimed at her though it was all low key. A few days later, it all came back again, and blew out of proportion. Everything about the date was analyzed and opinions given. Memes making fun of Susan and her actions were posted and shared widely. Her choice of not wanting fries was made fun of as she ate her meal. One famous meme was of Presidential candidate Dida’s quote “do not eat too much. Leave some space for breathing and air”. Mirfat took it all for a while before finally speaking up. She said the show was scripted and not everything we saw was real. Some people believed it others insulted her more.

Her coming out and speaking about scripting of the show brought to the limelight something that has been discussed since the show started: just how real is Tujuane? There have been claims some are already in relationships and they get paid to appear in it. The producers of the show have denied it but the show’s credibility has been questioned and they need to prove it’s all real.

Scripted or not, the show has raised one serious issue in the dating game: the issue of class. For the longest time there has been class levels in society. Once in a while people of different classes get together and it all goes well. Other times, it is a complete disaster. The show has focused on the feeling people from Eastlands (the ghetto) cannot get along with the people deemed to be from the upper class.

Many of the show’s episodes have had the whole East vs. West theme to it. It’s all about showing how and why the two do not blend well. The show has centered so much on this that it has become a predictable trait. It seems to be centered on this with people trying to change each other. This has raised a lot of debate on social media about it. The whole East vs. West issue makes for good TV since it portrays reality on the ground. This has however been overplayed. It’s time they brought in a new dynamic to the dates. Brought in something new that makes first dates awkward and terrible.

Tujuane has focused on a specific age group: people between 20-30 years. That seems to be the age of the people who go on these dates. Does this mean that the older generation does not go on dates? That they do not need help on making a first date a success? I personally would love to see the show venture to other age groups and set up dates for them. It would help diversify the show as well as show how the dating game gets as you grow older.

Tujuane has broken barriers in Kenya’s entertainment show in relation to reality shows. It is gaining popularity by bringing us things we experience in life. The characters might be a bit overplayed at times but it’s all in the name of entertainment. The show might be scripted, as are most reality shows for purposes of guiding the direction of the date. We can’t be sure how much of it is scripted, but it still makes for good TV. One thing is that Tujuane now has a lot to prove after the accusations have been made. It would be great to see them do a follow up on the earlier participants and how their relationships (or lack of) are faring.