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Survivor South Africa

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The ‘pride’ has spoken – Survivor SA 

09 September 2021
Which character from The Lion King could our castaways portray? 
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Images: Getty Images

by Jan-Hendrik Botha

Like in the 1994 movie The Lion King, Mufasa told Simba that their bodies ultimately become the grass and that the antelope eat the grass. Can the same be said about Survivor? Are our castaways all connected, not in the circle of life, but the greatest game on earth? 

Does the gameplay of our castaways’ resemble character traits from this renowned film? Should the animals be portrayed by our castaways, which of them would give an Oscar-winning performance? Let’s have a look: 


The beautiful Amy has a tiny heart but a roar that can be heard from a distance when given the opportunity at Tribal Council. This blonde, blue-eyed lawyer resembles a younger Nala, serving as Simba’s confidant. But, unfortunately, her and Renier’s destinies are ultimately tied, and they become outcasts, ending up all alone at the Elephant Graveyard and having to fend for their lives. But all is not lost, though, as they are sent to the beautiful island of Hakuna Matata, or in this case, Ponderosa, where they can recuperate together before returning to Pride Rock at a later stage.  



This charming rugby coach, whose physicality is both intimidating and used as a distraction from his tiny heart, reminds us of Pumbaa. Anela is a loyal friend, and even though someone might be a predator, he is willing to give them a fair chance. Anela is a driven castaway, who’s unwilling to give up, and though terrified at times, brave enough to fight for what’s right beside the king of the Pride Lands. The question, though: If lions eat warthogs, will Pumbaa and Simba remain friends after Survivor



She’s even named her walking stick after the legendary character, Rafiki. Just like Pride Rock’s Shaman, Anesu is a true Royal Mjuzi: she takes in all the information shared at Tribal Council and remains calm and collected. Through meditation and yoga, she seems to reach an altered state of awareness in the game of Survivor. Yes, our very own Rafiki!

And the name Rafiki says it all: meaning ‘friend’ in Swahili  it’s very appropriate as Anesu has been a true friend from day one to all the inhabitants of the Pride Lands, healing and caring for all its inhabitants. 

Find out how Anesu brought Rafiki into her game below:



Although some might perceive him as Scar, he resembles Nala’s ability to go out and hunt for the rest of the pride. Yes, our Chappies loves food – so much that he even opened Chappies’ Diner! Just like Pumbaa, the host of Hakuna Matata, Chappies will treat you with all sorts of island soul food if you decide not to eat him. 



Kiran might seem like a Mufasa at Tribal Council, never letting his emotions get the better of him. At times he might be perceived as being mischievous, just like a young Simba. At other times he can be just as naive, lured into the Elephant Graveyard – in this case, Chappies’ diner, but a brave fellow nonetheless. At times, he can be somewhat stubborn, just like the older Simba, but just as charming as well. He’s rational by nature and a logical thinker with a knack for solving problems as if he had been Rafiki’s apprentice at a stage.  



Stay close to Nicole, and you’ll be protected, just like Sarafina protects Nala. Though this bubbly blonde bombshell might seem timid, be sure to stay clear of her path when she’s out for the kill. Yes, just like Sarafina, Nicole has a good amount of sense, easy-going at times, but when danger lurks, she is sure to guide Nala to safety. And should Nala lose focus, Nicole will confidently redirect her focus to what’s essential in the game of Survivor.  



Though she doesn’t believe that a cat has nine lives, Marisha seems to resemble an older Nala: a caregiver willing to look after her inner circle. But don’t take this mother of two for granted. She doesn’t like playing with her food. Take it from Thoriso: Marisha will eat you up alive when you try to double-cross her. And she will not stand for being overlooked. Then, her claws will come out. 

But she has a humorous streak, too, always witty and able to lighten the mood with a joke or two, just like Timon. And just like Timon, she will have your back no matter what, and she’ll urge you to push through any hardship.



Slightly stubborn, always curious, but most importantly, brave – does that sound like a younger Simba? Yes, Renier might be young and inquisitive, but he will bravely and confidently stand up to bigger predators, defending his friends to the very end. His small frame might not be telling, but he is extremely fit. Renier is a confident, good-hearted Survivor superfan with a deep longing to become the wise king his father once was. And when it comes to physical challenges, the very energetic Renier sometimes needs to watch his step, or he might fall down the gorge.   



She’s colourful, slightly anxious, but always informed and aware. She is vocal and not always tactful. But, she’s determined and persistent, willing to take on Scar to protect those in her care, even if it means risking her life and being ready to fight for Simba until the very end. Santoni, the majordomo of the Pride Lands, always takes to the sky. She flies high up in the air to observe what goes on around camp – just like Zazu. 



He is undoubtedly the caregiver of the pride, always out to find a solution for a problem. And should one of his fellow pride mates be hurt, he’s always eager to take them aside to lick their wound. 

He’s also willing and able to search for food and divide accordingly and fairly. But don’t let his charming, caring temperament shadow his sassy nature – especially when it comes to calling a spade a spade at Tribal Council. Even when he didn’t have a target on his back, Shaun made himself known at Tribal Council with a roar unlike any other.

Even when Simba slips up, Shaun is a true friend and a voice of reason when the tribe has lost their way. And just like Nala, Shaun tends to rebel against Scar’s reign, eager to assist Simba in reclaiming the throne. 



Need to distract the hyenas? Leave it up to the charismatic Tyson to do the Hula Dance just like Timon! His bold voice might not resemble this beloved character, but his ability to win an argument does. Yes, Tyson is just as good a smooth-talker as Timon, using it to his advantage in a life-threatening predicament. He might be small in stature, but he’s big in personality. Though the highly intelligent Tyson might be scared of predators at times, he’s definitely a daredevil. If it’s important to Simba, it’s important to him. And if he cares about you, you’re always welcome in his jungle home.  



She’s the mother of the tribe, always stirring the pot and adding flavour to a wholesome meal. Introducing Survivor’s Sarabi: Wardah, a no-nonsense mother from Jozi, who’s fit, fabulous and straight to the point. She’s a strong feline who’s unforgiving and out for the kill. She’s a mother who will go out of her way to protect her six-year-old cub, and she will not hesitate to tell Scar precisely what she thinks of him. 

Which character from The Lion King do you think our castaways resemble? Use the hashtag #SurvivorSA on Twitter, Instagram or the Survivor Facebook Page. Also, remember to watch Survivor SA: Immunity Island on M-Net (DStv channel 101) every Thursday at 19:30.