The much-awaited 7th season of M-Net’s "Survivor SA: Island of Secrets" kicks off on Thursday, May 16 – and along with it, come not two, but three teams. The three tribes will be facing the harsh elements and Mother Nature in Samoa, while possibly dodging knives in their backs from conniving castaways.
Let’s meet the Ta’alo Tribe: Ta’alo’s tribal colour is purple, but what type of game will Ta’alo’s seven tribe members play?
Cobus Hugo, 28, architect from Greenpoint, Cape Town
Cobus is a lively, happy-go-lucky and proudly gay young man who lives on the light side of life, but admits that there’s sometimes a bit of sarcasm behind his million-dollar smile. It always comes from a good place, though. His biggest fear going onto Survivor SA is that he will be part of a boring tribe, but as his circle of friends know, Cobus will quickly be able to change the mood for the better in any group. Having a down day will indeed be a new experience for this loving and caring architect. And who would not want someone who can construct a proper shelter for his or her tribe?
Danté De Villiers, 31, Coffee shop owner from Dwarskersbos, Cape West Coast
With his long flowing hair, muscled body and love for the ocean, Danté is Survivor SA’s dreamy Aquaman! His passion for the outdoors has taken this soft-spoken athletic loner to many places across the world. After living in Thailand and spending the last seven years in the South of Israel next to the Red Sea, Danté has returned to South Africa to run a coffee shop – in a small coastal town of course! Danté certainly doesn’t conform to the norm. “I do my own thing, on my own terms,” he says of himself. “There are too many followers in this world.” Case in point: Even though he sees himself as a “real surfer”, decent hygiene is very high on his priority list.
Felix Godlo, 29, Sales consultant from Garstfontein, Pretoria
Felix comes from a traditional Xhosa family, but attended an Afrikaans High School in Pretoria where he then got a rugby scholarship to Jeppe High School for Boys. Today, he is married to his Afrikaans high school sweetheart. Felix is a natural leader and talented sportsman who loves to make his dad, a military man, proud. Solid and in-control, Felix sees Survivor SA as the ultimate social experiment and is over the moon to be part of it.
Jacques Burger, 27, Industrial Engineeer from Queenswood, Pretoria
Jacques is a Survivor super-fan. He has watched every single season – sometimes more than once – and even dedicated a podcast to Survivor SA: Philippines in 2018. This real brainiac, who is for obvious reasons always stereotyped as the nerd in a group, is adamant that he wants to be known as one of the greatest players in the history of the TV franchise. “I may look like I am on a hunger strike,” the scrawny married industrial engineer says, “but I can hold my own in challenges”. On paper, Jacques is a meticulous strategist whose social game is on point. But will he live up to his own expectations when Survivor doesn’t play out on paper?
Meryl Szolkeiwicz, 31, Pilates instructor from Irene, Pretoria
A creative soul with a degree in musical theatre, this pilates instructor with big hair and even bigger ambition always wants to perform at her best and won’t let anything get her down. For this yummy mommy, Survivor SA is an opportunity to rediscover her adventurous side. Raising three kids made her fierce and strong, compassionate and loyal, but in Survivor you may just see a little more of her flirtatious side.
Tania Copeland, 51, Immigration consultant from Somerset West, Cape Town
The rules and restrictions of society were not made with Tania in mind. Or, actually, they were. It’s just that this strong and independent woman is not going to pay much attention to them. Tania is one of a kind, unlike anyone else who has played the game of Survivor. She may be slightly older than her competitors, but it won’t hold her back. This colourful 51-year-old immigration consultant is a self-proclaimed hedonist and an avid rock climber who loves all kinds of adventures in the outdoors. Tania knows that she’s always the heart and soul of a party – with or without her no-longer-guilty pleasure – a marijuana joint.
Ting-Ting Wong, 25, Doctor from Durban
Ask Ting-Ting to describe herself and she will tell you that she’s a doctor by profession, a healer and “empowerer” by wish and a poet and YouTuber by choice. She is indeed a memorable millennial with a love for strange and beautiful things and an interesting background. She grew up in a traditional Taiwanese household with South African influences, studied at the University of Stellenbosch and considers herself an “African Asian” who is now completing her medical internship and wants to specialise in reconstructive plastic surgery. Likeable and mischievous, but also practical and extremely wise, Ting-Ting brings an interesting dynamic – and plenty of soul and insight to every situation.
* Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets will be on M-Net from Thursday May 16 at 7pm.