Survivor SA

It’s ta-ta Ting-Ting as Jacques breaks his vow in Survivor SA: Island of Secrets

30 May 2019
Ting-Ting Wong (25) became the third castaway to be voted off the current season of M-Net’s Survivor SA, in a dramatic episode that caught the castaways and audience off guard with twists and turns no one had seen coming.
Survivor SA S7 Ting ting exit

The bright and unassuming doctor from Durban felt deeply betrayed and had every reason to. Even though it was clear that she had been earmarked for an early exit in Tribe Ta’alo, she arrived at Tribal Council with the assurance that Survivor super-fan Jacques would hand her a last-minute reprieve by playing his Immunity Idol for her. But when the moment came, his loyalty, courage – or both – deserted him, and he decided to play it for himself. As it turned out, Jacques would have been safe anyway if he had saved his closest ally and chatterbox Cobus would have had his torch extinguished.

But how did Ting-Ting, end up in the firing line? She was on excellent terms with all her tribemates after all, and her sharp intellect was bound to make up for her lack of physical strength somewhere along the line. Everybody was also pining for a chance to ditch Tania, whose me-myself-I attitude made her wildly unpopular from the get-go. Well, Tania’s fortunes took an unforeseen upswing with an Immunity Challenge in which she didn’t even take part – having been selected to sit out – along with Ta’alo tribemate Ting-Ting, to even out the numbers as Sa’ula was two members short.

This is how it played out:

It was no ordinary Immunity Challenge; there was also a hefty reward at stake: comfort items, such as a hammock, pillows and a tarpaulin and most importantly, a fire-making kit. The second-placed team would win some comfort items of their own. This was a huge incentive for Sa’ula, who returned from the previous Tribal Council to discover a nasty surprise: Paul, whom they had blindsided at Tribal Council, returned the favour by pinching their precious flint!

With this to spur them on, they finally scored the victory that had previously eluded them, thanks among others to a superhuman effort from Rob and a rejuvenated Nathan, whose reprieve at Tribal Council and a spiffy new hairstyle seemed to offer a miracle cure for the foot injury he suffered earlier when he stepped on coral. It was a killer challenge, requiring speed and raw power in equal measures. Participants tethered together in some rounds as Rob and Nathan were, while others went solo, had to race through a muddy obstacle course, retrieve their Tribal flag, return and deliver it to home base. At the end of it, everyone was covered in mud from head to toe.

The first team to win three races claimed Immunity, and Rob and Nathan got Sa’ula off to a flyer, beating Ta’alo with ease. Laumei was never in contention. Next came a solo race between Seipei for Sa’ula, Rocco for Laumei and Jacques for Ta’alo. Jacques surprisingly took an early lead over Rocco, a star at the Commonwealth Games. Sadly, he slipped, and Rocco scored for Laumei. Seipei didn’t even reach the halfway mark.

Next up, it was Steffi and Nicole tethered together for Sa’ula, Laetitia and Geoffrey for Laumei, and Felix and Meryl for Ta’alo. Sa’ula’s beauty queens took an early lead, lost it to Ta’alo, and staged a brilliant fightback to win by a whisker, followed by Felix and Meryl. Maybe it helped that Nicole and Steffi’s looks were concealed by a thick layer of mud! Nathan and Rob teamed up for the second time competing with Laumei’s Geoffrey and Durāo and Ta’alo’s Jacques and Cobus. It was a tremendously close contest until the final 10 meters or so when Nathan and Rob slithered away to secure Immunity! What a relief after their poor performance in earlier challenges!

Finally, a sudden-death solo between Rocco (Laumei) and Danté (Ta’alo) for the second Tribal Immunity Idol, and second reward. Danté again proved that his slim frame was a match for muscleman Rocco’s power. Alas, for Ta’alo, the pro-athlete grabbed the honours, plus Immunity and reward, in a photo-finish. Sa’ula, as winners, also got to send a Ta’alo Tribe member to the Island of Secrets. No surprise when they chose Tania, whom they had identified as the weak link in the opposition. And that is where Tania’s luck turned. She was given an alluring option: return for Tribal Council, or switch to another tribe. It was a no brainer: she knew that all her tribemates were dead keen to see the back of her. She wouldn’t return.

It came as a shock to the others, who now had to ditch a beloved tribemate. They reached a consensus... or so they thought. Jacques seemed resolved to save Ting-Ting, but the vibe at Tribal Council made him jittery. She had to go. It was a somber, somewhat sad little group who bade her farewell.

For the first time since their arrival, Laumei had to contend with second place. They knew it was thanks to Rocco. Tribemates who had considered getting rid of him just because he was such a potent force, must have been thrilled that they never got the chance. Oh, and he lifted their spirits even further with a “patented” victory dance!

At the end of this week’s episode, host Nico Panagio revealed things were to be “shaken up”; be prepared for brand-new tribes, which will, of course, call for brand-new alliances... and brand-new schemes and brutal deceits.

Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets is screened on M-Net every Thursday at 19:00. It will also be available on DStv CatchUp. Fans can visit www.mnet.tv/survivorsa and follow all the breaking news and conversations around the show on Twitter @Survivor_SA / Instagram @Survivor_sa / Facebook with the official hashtag #SurvivorSA