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Survivor South Africa

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Santi, rolling in the deep – Survivor SA

28 August 2021
When fire meets fire: Santi sets the record straight.
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Images: Charlie Sperring and Peter Russell

After an explosive Tribal Council, Santoni’s time on Survivor SA abruptly ended. After Nicole played her Fire Idol, the fiery redhead kept us on the edge of our seats, competing against Tyson in the infamous fire-making challenge.

Santoni was the first to get her flames going during the challenge, but Tyson quickly got his fire going too. They were neck and neck, and just like that, Tyson won the challenge, making Santoni the fifteenth castaway voted out of Survivor SA and the seventh member of the jury.

Early into Tribal Council, she already knew it was the end for her, so she wanted to set the record straight before she left.

Victim vs predator

At Tribal Council, Kiran and Santoni were at each other’s throats. While the jury watched in awe, Kiran exposed Anela for his betrayal of “The League of Shadows”. But Santoni interrupted Kiran and quickly tried to change the topic, saying he had betrayed her trust.

The conversation quickly became heated, and an emotional Kiran accused Santoni of contradicting herself: According to him, he was the victim of her betrayal first.

He continued, saying she cannot play the victim and predator at the same time. “We did each other dirty,” said Kiran.” You’ve done exactly to me what I have done to you, but you don’t hear me saying that people I’ve trusted have burnt that trust!”

After leaving Tribal Council, Santoni said she regretted being the reason for Kiran’s anger and disappointment. “I saw this type of disappointment in him towards Renier when Renier played the fake idol. I even stood up for Kiran then, but this time around, he felt I betrayed him.”

Though she feels being honourable in the game of Survivor is impossible, she was shocked to hear that Kiran felt betrayed by her. “I never looked him in the eye and promised him the world.” 

She also believes that some of the castaways used her words against her: At Tribal Council, Kiran said Santoni told his alliances he was a threat that had to be voted out. But Santoni revealed that this was not the case. “If someone’s going to ask me about threats in the game, I’m going to speak my mind and tell them who I think is [a threat] – that doesn’t mean I’m going to vote [for that person]! I also said that Chappies is a big threat in this game, but I’m still with Chappies.” 

According to her, some of her fellow tribemates who participated in these conversations manipulated her to say just what they wanted her to say, using it as leverage against her to form stronger alliances with others. “In this game, people come to you and put you in a position where you are forced to say what they want you to say. Then they take that information and run to the person and use it against you.”

Drowning in the deep

In episode seven, after competing in the Aquaman challenge, Santoni developed a fear of water. And according to her, this made Tribal Council this week quite ironic.

Her fear of water stems from not feeling the bottom during the challenge while drifting away. “That is how I felt at Tribal Council.” And hearing Kiran’s remarks made her feel like she was drowning. “I was trying to keep my head above water, but after Kiran attacked me, I felt like I was sinking – and as per usual, Chappies wanted to save me, but this time he couldn’t.


Allying with the enemy

On day fourteen (episode six), Santoni referred to Nicole as her nemesis, yet they allied this week. What has changed since?

Santoni says she grew quite close to Nicole since then, and she’ll be vouching for her going forward. “She’s grown on me. I really like her as a person, and I hope she succeeds. 

“She’s really in the deep end at the moment, and I want her to have a fighting chance.”

Preparing for the jury

Though she’s vouching for Nicole, Santoni’s money is on Chappies, and being the seventh jury member, she is determined to prove to the rest of the jury why Anela, Kiran, and Tyson should not win. “That will not happen on my watch!”

According to her, Chappies, in particular, deserves to win because she feels he is “playing his heart out”, but is misunderstood. “Even though I think I was his brain, Chappies has been playing very hard. Though I did the backseat driving on many strategies, he is still playing an awesome game.

“He’s not letting all the criticism or fighting get to him. He is standing strong – and he’s always been there for me. He’s a fighter, I respect his game, and I really hope he makes it to the end.

See what Santoni had to say moments after Tribal Council below:

Who do you think deserves the title of Sole Survivor? Use the hashtag #SurvivorSA on TwitterInstagram, or the Survivor Facebook Page and let us know online. Tune in for Survivor SA: Immunity Island Thursdays at 19:30 on M-Net. Click here for exclusive show content.