Sunday, May 2, 2021

Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island: Meet the 20 young castaways in the upcoming 8th season on M-Net that range from an aftercare and a math teacher to a lawyer and a live escape game owner.

by Thinus Ferreira

The young 20 castaways taking part in Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island on M-Net that starts on 3 June for 16 episodes include an aftercare teacher, a lawyer, multiple entrepreneurs, a math teacher and a live escape game owner.

Survivor SA: Immunity Island will premiere on M-Net (DStv 101) on 3 June with a special hour-and-a-half episode at 19:30, followed by 1-hour episodes weekly, and conclude with a 2-hour season finale on 16 September after 16 episodes.

There are 20 castaways from across South Africa taking part over 39 days in the new 8th season of Survivor South Africa with host Nico Panagio, that was filmed alongside South Africa's Wild Coast as a so-called "bubble production" because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Besides 39 days, 40 is also a significant number this season: Perhaps because of Covid-19 it's also the "youngest" season of Survivor South Africa yet, with the top-age of the oldest castaway that is 40 - almost as if Survivor SA is playing a version of Logan's Run this season (the youngest castaway is 26).

The 20 South Africans were transported into true isolation on the Eastern Cape's Wild Coast, where they will attempt to outwit, outplay and outlast each other over 39 days in the new season to clinch the title of Sole Survivor and win R1 million.

"The series is shaping up to be the best-ever in Survivor South Africa history," says Jan du Plessis, channel director for M-Net channels, in a statement.

"The castaways this season proved that they will stop at nothing to emerge victorious – it's the most cut-throat, ambitious and engrossing season of the game we've seen, contested by a group of true super fans."

Leroux Botha, creative producer and series director, says that the first-ever local setting for Survivor South Africa has taken this season up another notch.

"When the castaways discovered they were going to be playing the game in a location closer to home than usual, some of them thought they could take a degree of familiarity for granted – but they soon find out that whether they're on the beautiful Wild Coast or on an island on the other side of the planet, Survivor always throws up tests, twists and challenges they couldn't possible foresee."

Amy Eliason (33)
corporate lawyer (Johannesburg)
Amy says her favourite drink – red wine - also led to her submitting an entry for this season of the show.
"I was at a braai and the advertisement for Survivor SA came on TV and with my red wine-stained lips and teeth I proclaimed, 'I can do that!'," she says. "I then proceeded to film my messy audition video, which somehow got me selected!"

Anela Majozi (25)
math educator & rugby coach (Johannesburg)
Originally from Durban but now calls Johannesburg home. Describes himself as "a typical Gemini".
"I'm simple yet also elaborate, deliberate and measured in my approach - and somehow also very careless at times," he says.

Anesu Mbizvo (29)
medical doctor, yoga teacher & small business owner (Johannesburg)
Describes herself as "a natural leader, healer, earth lover and avid dreamer".
The yoga teacher says of entering: "I am constantly searching for ways to grow and evolve and I wanted to enter Survivor SA so that I could find out who I would be when everything was stripped away and I was pushed to my limits."

Carla Gubb (29)
corporate sales executive & entrepreneur (Cape Town)
She says that having watched every season of Survivor that has aired over the past 20 years, she still believes you can never be prepared. "The game is so different every season and every player is unique, which makes it impossible to predict what is going to happen, or how to play," she says.

Francois Chapman (32)
entrepreneur (Centurion)
Better known as "Chappies" to his friends and fellow castaways.
He describes himself as an optimist by nature, who loves life and strives to make a positive impact in others' lives by living his life to the fullest.
"Swim upstream or don't swim at all," is his motto. Chappies says there's nothing he wouldn't do to win the game. "No hard feelings, just a hard game," he says.

Dino Paulo (30)
live escape game owner (Johannesburg)
He says his greatest strength is being able to laugh at himself, or throughout a tough situation, which has helped him demonstrate resilience. "Being easy-going and highly adaptable should have its advantages too," he says.

Jason Brookstein (27)
structural engineering draughtsman (Johannesburg)
He packed his hair elastics as the first item into his bag for the game – odd, then, that he says one of his greatest weaknesses is "barber shops".
Citing Joe Anglim, Ozzy Lusth and Sarah Lacina as his favourite-ever Survivor players, he says his strategy going into the game is to spot vulnerability and use it to his advantage, while networking and having options to move in the game.

Kiran Naidoo (29)
strategy consultant (Johannesburg)
Durban-born and absolutely adores competition. 
"Playing 'for fun' is quite literally the most annoying concept in the world," he says. "I am exceptionally curious about the world around me and the motivations behind why people do what they do. Lastly, I'm super sarcastic and quick-witted, if you don't pick it up, you may think I'm mean ... shame."

Marisha du Plessis (35)
Farmer wife and guest house owner (Tulbagh)
Describes herself as "outgoing, strong and very driven" – and hates being told she cannot or may not do something. 
While her greatest weakness is not being able to hide her true self, she says her strengths are how good she is with people, relationships, and the way she never gives up.

Mike Laws (32)
lawyer (Cape Town)
Calls himself "a classic city slicker". "I'm a corporate law geek with anxiety issues, strong opinions and a big heart". He entered this season "to see if a neurotic, city-slicker, white-collar geek could crack it in the wild" and prepared by learning to tie knots – although he declares himself "useless" at it.

Nicole Wilmans (26)
digital marketing manager (Somerset West)
"I think I was born to be on Survivor - I love the thrill of the game and how it challenges you in every possible way imaginable," she says.
"I am a passionate and enthusiastic woman. A go-getter and always up for a challenge," she says. Having packed her bikini first – adamant she was going to get that "Survivor glow" - Nicole says she feels like she'd been preparing her whole life for the game.

Noleen Nkanjeni (30)
freelancer (Cape Town)
known as Pinty, loves learning how to do new things and to go beyond her limits.
"That's why I like to think of myself as a 'Janet of all trades' who knows a little more than just a little about many different things," says Pinty. "Meeting new people and having meaningful, honest interactions is one of my favourite things."

Paul Cupido (29)
aftercare teacher (Johannesburg)
Describes himself as "single, very single", and thinks of himself as a kind and loving person, with a spontaneously positive outlook on life.
"I'm someone who's always up for a challenge – spiritually, mentally and physically and someone who often puts others before himself," he says. 
He entered Survivor SA because he wanted to be part of a social experiment, but also because he was craving a new adventure and a bit of excitement in his life.

Qieän (pronounced ‘Key-hahn’) Wang (35)
'Fun-employed' (Cape Town)
She is Taiwan-born and currently Hong Kong-based. 
She loves having the freedom to explore nature and be immersed in it. 
She describes herself as "highly empathetic, kind and fiercely loyal" – something for which she says she is often taken for granted, for.
"Expect some tears. I'm definitely not one who is afraid to show her vulnerability! Hopefully, the viewers will recognise me for my kind, nurturing nature and not mistake it for someone who is not aggressive," she says.

Renier Louwrens (30)
chemical engineer (Secunda)
"I've been playing the hypothetical game in my head for the past 5 years, discussing it and breaking it down with my wife and having loads of fun doing so," he says of his preparations to play the game.
"My wife and I have watched every season of Survivor out there. It's my dream to be able to play the game I’ve grown so fond of over the past 20 years."

Santoni Engelbrecht (39)
online business owner (Strand)
It's a case of "4th time's the charm" as she finally got her wish of becoming a Survivor SA castaway after three previous attempts.
"I love the dynamics of the show and always wanted to enter. I'm such a  'non-Survivor-looking person' and I wanted to show people that anything is possible if you put your mind to it," she says.

Shaun Wilson (40)
IT entrepreneur (Cape Town)
Is Norwich-born, Johannesburg-bred and now Capetonian.
Is a "geek who has an affinity for adventure and the biggest soft spot for dogs". His preparation for Survivor SA was non-existent. "Lockdown hit and I perfected my baking skills, spending time with my dogs and improving my KD rate on Apex Legends," he says.

Thoriso M-Afrika (36)
marketing officer (Uitenhage)
Is Port Elizabeth-born and describes herself as "The eternal optimist, fiercely loyal and a colourful character who lives in my own world".
"I'll stand out as an anomaly on the show because I wouldn't be caught dead camping, am a creature of comfort and would probably die if I ever did something like this alone," she says.

Tyson Zulu (24)
creative director and entrepreneur (Johannesburg)
"I'm a super creative, a jack of all trades and a perfectionist to a fault. I love animals more than people," says the Durban-born entrepreneur.
"Ten out of 10 times I'll always speak my mind and do what I feel." He entered Survivor SA as a learning experience. "I want to be a big player in the film and TV industry and learning, first-hand, from the biggest show in the country is a massive opportunity," he says.

Wardah Hartley (39)
yoga instructor and fitness professional
"I officially celebrate four decades on the planet this year, and I have learnt plenty about myself and about how human beings behave," she says.
After having been a journalist for 20 years, she developed the ability to quickly connect and build trust with virtually anyone she meets. "I wanted to put myself in an environment where I could put all of these valuable life lessons to the test – Survivor SA is my masterclass," she says.