IT’S a love and hate relationship that has captivated TV viewers for slightly more than a week – peaking with Roki’s decision to nominate Maneta for eviction from Big Brother Africa on Monday.
They have traded insults, then made up with a hug; they had to be separated by fellow housemates when their verbal combat nearly ended in physical violence, then made up with Roki giving Maneta a sensuous massage.
But this week, it seems the relationship has reached breaking point and will take some mending before the two Zimbabweans can be nice to each other – for the first time.
Maneta joined Roki in Upville – a subdivision house previously occupied by seven African “celebrities” – after surviving eviction in the first week.
She soon attracted the bad-boy rapper’s attentions and it has been cat and mouse since. And judging by Monday’s events, it could soon be lion and hyena.
Roki says he nominated Maneta – who remains unaware of the fact – for her own good. Apparently there is some good in being shooed off a contest for a US$300,000 top prize!
“I wanna protect her because things are gonna get crazy in here,” Roki explained his logic.
He has hinted in conversations with his mate, the Kenyan rapper Prezzo, that he is dying to be connected with Eve, Botswana’s housemate in Downville. Maneta has also referenced the Botswana lass – with a strong hint Roki might know her from another life.
“If more Downville comes here, things are gonna get strange and sexual,” Roki explained to Big Brother on Monday. “This show is gonna turn crazy just now, they [Maneta and his second nomination, Mampi, from Zambia] might not be able to handle that.”
He then threw in a second reason for turning on his compatriot. “Maneta came in combinations with her sister [Teclar], now she is here she has joined another combination with Mampi. She is fading slowly into Mampi.”
Big Brother later invited Maneta to the Diary Room for a status update on her beef with Roki. It turns out, according to Maneta, that the fight is for the hearts and minds of Zimbabwean voters, and Roki is determined to be the last Zimbabwean standing.
Scrap that! There are in fact THREE reasons why Roki is making her life hell, opines the Bulawayo lass.
She explains: “I’ve got three assumptions: I think number one, maybe because I’m from the same country as him, now he feels like I’m stealing his limelight. You know how when you are two kids, siblings from the same family, something like that. He feels like I’m in his space, he was the only Zimbabwean here and I came.
“Number two: I think that it’s because he likes me and I told him ‘I’m off bounds because I’ve got a boyfriend and you must stay away from me’. Now he’s trying to make my life miserable and he’s trying to frustrate me.
“Number three: They are saying that it’s his character, he is just like that. But there is no person who is just like that, who just provokes people from nowhere. I think those are the three reasons mainly.”
It could be mutually destructive engagement - both onboard a Big Brother Titanic headed for a thick iceberg - or they could be playing us all and emerge from this as a triumphant power couple.
Whatever their reasons, it does look like the battle lines are drawn, or to use Roki's own words: "Stuff has hit the fan."
Watch videos below to see how Maneta and Roki’s relationship evolved:
DAY 7: MANETA ARRIVES IN UPVILLE
DAY 7: ROKI IS SPURNED BY MANETA
DAY 8: ROKI TRIES AGAIN
DAY 8: MANETA TELLS ROKI TO ZIP IT
DAY 9: ‘MANETA PLAYS HARD TO GET’
DAY 9: ROKI ON MANETA-DKB HOOK-UP
DAY 10: SPARKS FLY BETWEEN ZIMBABWEANS
DAY 10: ROKI’S HEART-TO-HEART WITH MANETA
DAY 11: MANETA GETS MASSAGE FROM ROKI
DAY 14: ROKI MAKES FUN OF MANETA ACCENT
DAY 15: ROKI NOMINATES MANETA
DAY 15: MANETA'S 3 ROKI THEORIES