As alliances were stretched to breaking point and improvisational ability put under the spotlight in the biggest tribal shakeup in Survivor South Africa history, Ace’s luck finally ran out as he became the fourth castaway to depart Survivor South Africa: Philippines this week (24 May).
When Survivor South Africa tribes Mindanao and Luzon arrived at their fourth reward challenge, the last thing they expected was for host Nico Panagio to utter the words: “Drop your buffs”. Their nerves jangling, they were each asked to randomly choose an egg, which they were to break against their shoulder on Nico’s command. Reality soon dawned as yellow paint joined red and blue in splattering across the castaways’ shirts to announce the presence of a new tribe, Visayas.
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Before the paint could dry, the contestants found themselves reassigned to new tribes: The new Mindanao drew a striking resemblance to the old, with Marthunis, Katinka, PK and Tevin staying blue, joined by Annalize.
The new Luzon saw Werner, Toni and Jeanne move across from the former Mindanao to put Ace and Josie in the minority.
Visayas was dominated by ex-Luzon members Tom, Chané, Vusi and Palesa, with Murishca the only ‘outsider’. Palesa had also picked up an envelope hidden under her egg, which she hoped would point to another Hidden Immunity Idol clue after she failed to capitalise on a similar advantage last week.
The Reward Challenge offered the winning tribe the chance to take a bumper package including all the reward items that had been up for grabs in the game so far, back to a brand new beach equipped with a ready-built shelter, roaring fire and loads of comfort items. The second-placed tribe would take back a set of condiments and spices to their pick of the two remaining beaches. After the muddiest challenge of the season so far, Luzon came out on top, with Mindanao finishing second and choosing to move over to the former Luzon camp, swayed by Annalize’s promises of comfort.
Of all the luxuries at the new Luzon beach, it was a clue to the location of a Hidden Immunity Idol, carved on the back of the day bed, that warmed Ace’s heart most. He shared the news with Josie, but the only problem was that the map seemed to indicate that the Idol was buried in the heart of the camp, between the fire and the shelter.
The first three-way Tribal Immunity Challenge saw the tribes having to complete an obstacle course and build a tall tower of blocks which needed to stand for three seconds, with the first and second-placed tribes safe from Tribal Council. Mindanao made short work of the challenge and after toiling in the sun and suffering a few heartbreaking tower-topples, Visayas eventually prevailed to send Luzon to Tribal Council.
The defeat put a deadline on Ace & Josie’s hunt for the Hidden Immunity Idol, but digging right in the centre of camp was going to take some finesse. Ace played it cool for most of the day, but a decision for everyone to take a nap gave him the opportunity to dig a little faster, with Josie keeping an eye on the others. He dug and dug and when everyone woke up, he was able to continue by telling them he was building a tunnel from the fire to the shelter to conduct heat into the structure – which the others seemed to buy, despite being annoyed with him for digging a trench through the centre of the camp!
With Tribal Council looming and no Immunity Idol in sight, Ace did his best to bluff Werner, but the Pastor wasn’t buying it when Ace couldn’t produce proof – but that didn’t stop him from taking the Idol he found at last week’s challenge along, as insurance.
At Tribal Council, Ace bemoaned the fact that there hadn’t been an opportunity to approach the ex-Mindanao members individually to see if there was a chance of driving a wedge between them, with Josie agreeing – but Jeanne pointed out that they hadn’t even tried and had seemed to accept that one of them would be leaving. Ace mentioned that he’d made it his mission to find an Immunity Idol, hoping to plant doubt. With the votes cast, Nico offered the contestants the chance to play any Immunity Idols – and in a last-ditch bluff, Ace reached into his bag in the hope of flushing another Immunity Idol, but nobody blinked, so he had to sit back and watch as his name was read out three times.
Tune in to Survivor South Africa: Philippines next week (31 May) to see if former Mindanao and Luzon tribal alliances prevail across the three new tribes, or if the shuffle will see new power blocs emerge.
Survivor fans can also have great fun online. For the first time ever, M-Net has created a Virtual Reality experience for fans of the show. By simply logging on to www.mnet.tv/survivorsa viewers can click through to a full 360 degree experience of the Survivor SA islands, living areas as well as each challenge site as the weeks progress. Fans can now see and experience the surroundings of the exotic Philippines exactly as the Survivor contestants did, and stumble upon some clues along the way that could put them in line to win some great prizes while doing so!
Survivor SA is powered by the Huawei P20 Pro and is produced by Afrokaans Film and TV.
The show is also available on DStv Catch-Up and Catch-Up Plus within 24 hours.