There is only one reality show that has outlasted all its competitors. It has been called the greatest game on earth, and for 18 ordinary South Africans the adventure of a lifetime is about to start on M-Net channel 101 on Thursday, 3 May.
In the sixth season of this hit global franchise, the 18 Survivor South Africa: Philippines castaways will be exposed to the beauty of thousands of islands connected by Pacific waters, each one home to distinct forests and bays which are teeming with indigenous wildlife, both beautiful and dangerous.
Their aim will be to outwit, outplay and outlast their fellow competitors to endure longer than any previous South African winner: to Day 39, where the finalists will have to convince a jury of ousted contestants, whom they either directly or indirectly had a hand in voting out of the game, to give them the title of Sole Survivor and the whopping cash prize that goes with it.
In Survivor SA, you can be whoever you want to be, the only thing that matters is how you play the game. So, who will connive, deceive, physically and mentally triumph over others to become the next winner of the sixth season of Survivor South Africa?
Meet the contestants: (in alphabetical order)
ACE: (28) Graphic Designer from Johannesburg
Ace – a graphic designer from Johannesburg – might be familiar to some fans as M-Net’s “Wild Card” winner after outlasting seven other wannabe Survivor castaways through gruelling challenges over the course of three days to cinch himself a spot on the series. And all of this was done while strapped to a billboard in Johannesburg! Ace might come across as an underdog but as we know in the game of Survivor, looks could be deceiving. Ace believes that his strengths include his versatility to roll with the punches and his people skills, while his weaknesses include finding it difficult to say no to people.
ANNALIZE (44) Caterer from Cape Town
Annalize is a mother of two from Cape Town who runs her own catering company. Annalize describes herself as an eternal optimist, always with a smile on her face, and feels that she reads people well – a quality that could stand her in good stead in a game like Survivor. Annalize doesn’t go anywhere without her gold bikini and admits that the one thing she’ll miss the most on the island, apart from her family, is an ice cold gin and tonic! Her favourite Survivor player is Monica Culpepper from Survivor: Blood vs. Water.
CHANÉ (28) Admin clerk from Bloemfontein
Chané is a pint-sized admin clerk from Bloemfontein, but one should not be fooled by her petite frame. Chane describes herself as a loud, fun-loving, charismatic “boeremeisie” who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. She also admits that she is prone to being rather emotional: holding tears back is not one of her fortes. To prepare for Survivor SA: Philippines, Chané watched a lot of online videos on how to open coconuts... but will she have the skills to pay the bills once she lands on the island?
JEANNE (34) Radio producer from Cape Town
Jeanne is a self-confessed “class clown” and Survivor super fan who lists watching the show as one of her passions. She believes that being a student of the game is going to be her biggest strength in the series, as well as the fact that she practiced how to make fire with a flint before heading to the island. Jeanne admits that she is very opinionated and one of her weaknesses could be her inability to hold her tongue, especially when provoked.
JOSIE (28) Travel writer from Cape Town
Josie is no stranger to weird and wonderful locations, given that she’s a travel writer with her own travel blog. Her passport may be full of stamps, but her journey to Survivor SA: Philippines will be unlike anything she has previously embarked on. Josie’s strategy in the game is to identify some trustworthy allies and to fly under the radar for as long as possible. Josie admits that her biggest weakness is getting bored easily, which could result in a lack of patience with others – not ideal for the social aspect of this competition.
KATINKA (19) Social media influencer from Mosselbay
Bubbly Katinka is the youngest Survivor SA competitor in the history of the South African series. A social media influencer and content creator, Katinka is known to her followers as a tongue-in-cheek comedian who doesn’t take life too seriously. Optimistic and confident, Katinka admits that her major weakness in the game could be the fact that she struggles to keep secrets, which could result in a potential minefield given that deceit is one of the cornerstones of the game.
MARTHUNIS (29) Investment advisor from Durban
No-nonsense Marthunis is a devout Christian and father of one from Durban. As a member of MENSA, Marthunis is intellectually nimble but admits that he struggles to read people and their emotions, so the social aspect of this game may pose a challenge for him. Marthunis says that viewers can expect him to be 100% real at all times during this competition – but how seriously will the other castaways take this suit-wearing investment advisor?
MURISHCA (34) Marketing manager from Cape Town
Murishca is a mother of two who is representing all the moms out there who want to rise to a challenge and get out of their comfort zones. This straight-talking, authentic creative is all about being brave and facing her fears, which include swimming under water – a potential hazard on a show like Survivor where she’ll be surrounded by the Pacific ocean! Her purple tracksuit top was the first thing she packed for the island, as she simply had to take something in her favourite colour with her.
NEIL (55) HR Executive from Johannesburg
Neil is the oldest castaway on the series but certainly doesn’t look it. This fitness freak and grandfather describes himself as a Comrades-running, Duzi-paddling, Midmar-swimming, bungee-jumping, mountain-biking family man and teacher. With his extensive background in Human Resources, Neil has no problem taking charge and making decisions when others may be reluctant to stand out in the social game. What will Neil miss the most when on the island? His bed… and an ice cold beer!
PALESA (28) Radio presenter from Johannesburg
Palesa is a tough cookie who has risen above adversity in her life so many times that she feels that Survivor SA will be a walk in the park for her. This highly competitive mother of one describes herself as the friend you wish to have, and the enemy you don’t. As a radio presenter her strength lies in being able to speak confidently and convincingly, but her confidence could pose a threat if not moderated. The first thing Palesa packed in her bag for the island was a supportive bikini top “to hold the girls in place” during challenges.
PK (28) Mining technician from Pretoria
PK is a mining technician who viewers will come to recognise because of his signature South African flag that he carries with him at all times. PK is in tip-top physical shape due to his experience as an MMA fighter but underneath this competitive appearance is a player who is a strategic thinker too. PK admits that his biggest weakness in the gruelling game of Survivor will be his tendency to overthink things. With paranoia being a common feature for Survivor players across the board, could this be PK’s downfall?
SEAMUS (25) Property broker from Durban
Seamus is a super fan of the Survivor franchise who is not out to make any friends on the island. He confesses that he is coming into the game to play hard, cause chaos and initiate as many blindsides as possible. An unapologetic villain and strategist, Seamus admits that his weak spot could be incorrectly identifying the other strategists in the game. Physically fit and visibly strong, he could also pose a physical threat to other Alpha males on his tribe. Fans will immediately recognise Seamus by his signature blue straw hat.
STACEY-LEE (27) Business analyst from Cape Town
Stacey-Lee is a business analyst from Cape Town who also plays rugby in her down time. She lists her physical strength and ability as a characteristic that will stand her in good stead in the competition, as well as her ability to remain cool under pressure – a skill that she undoubtedly honed on the sports field. Stacey-Lee comes across as tough on the outside and is adamant that women can do any job just as well – or better - than the guys. But deep down she reveals that she is a softie who forms emotional ties easily.
TEVIN (24) Medical doctor from Durban
Tevin is a Survivor boffin who has watched every season of every franchise – sometimes watching individual seasons up to 15 times! This doctor, whose interests lie in the fields of neuroscience, behavioural science and physical cosmology, believes that Survivor is the best human social experiment on Earth. Tevin plans to do a lot of lying on the island, as he feels that the only way to play a successful social and strategic game is to have his competitors eating out of the palm of his hand. A hero to the tribe and a villain to the viewers, Tevin’s all time favourite player of the game is Boston Rob.
TOM (41) Adventure camp manager
This what-you-see-is-what-you-get family man has loads of experience when it comes to literal “survival” skills. As an adventure camp manager, Tom builds shelters in the wild for a living and sees himself as the natural provider for his tribe. His skills include fishing, hunting, building shelter and making fire, but how will he fair in the social game? Tom is a self-proclaimed loud mouth who loves the sound of his own voice. Not scared of confrontation, could this be his downfall in such a socially delicate game?
TONI (38) Content developer from Johannesburg
Toni is a Survivor fan who describes herself as an open-minded, passionate “potty mouth”. This Crossfit fanatic hopes that she can downplay her physical prowess until later in the game while focusing on her ability to play a good social game within her tribe. Toni enjoys a good laugh and admits to having a naughty sense of humour, but if provoked, she will not shy away from confrontation and speaking her mind as she can’t help but wear her heart on her sleeve.
VUSI (35) Logistics manager from Johannesburg
Vusi is a family man who loves swimming, nature and a glass of whiskey every now and then. His strategy going into Survivor is to let the Alpha males take charge and put targets on their backs while keeping the focus off him. A charming all-rounder who is physically strong and also loves a good puzzle, Vusi’s downfall could be his impatience with people who come across as disingenuous or fake, as he is bound to encounter these traits in a game like Survivor!
WERNER (34) Pastor and biokineticist from Secunda
Werner is another super fan of the series who plans to eat, sleep and breathe strategy on the island. He is a people person who has been playing the hypothetical game in his head for four years since he entered Survivor SA in 2014 but didn’t make the cut. A self-confessed leader and ex-provincial rugby player, Werner plans to lie low and play a strong social game to get him further in the competition. But how will this pastor balance his real life ethics with those required to successfully play the game of Survivor?
Survivor SA: Philippines is produced by Afrokaans Film and Television and is powered by Huawei.
For more information about the series, visit www.mnet.tv/survivorsa, follow the hashtag #SurvivorSA or check the official Twitter and Instagram pages @survivor_sa and the Survivor SA page on Facebook.