20 castaways revealed for the “best-ever” Survivor South Africa in history

20 castaways from across South Africa have been brought together for the chance to compete to be the ‘Sole Survivor’ on South African soil for the first time in the series’ eight-season history, with the forthcoming 'Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island'.

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Having spent the better part of 2021 in isolation under COVID-19 related lockdowns already, the 20 Castaways were transported far from their homes and into true isolation on the Eastern Cape’s stunningly-beautiful Wild Coast, where they attempted to outwit, outplay and outlast each other over 39 days for the ultimate R1 million cash prize.

Promising viewers the best-ever Survivor SA in history, M-Net Channels boss Jan du Plessis says the series is “shaping up to be the most cut-throat, ambitious and engrossing season of the game they’ve seen in Survivor South Africa history”.

The first-ever local setting for season 8 of Survivor South Africa has no doubt taken this season up another notch.

Says creative producer Leroux Botha, from Afrokaans: “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.”

Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island was filmed on the Wild Coast in the Eastern Cape, in partnership with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC). The 8th season of the show is once again produced by Afrokaans and hosted by Nico Panagio.

Hot on the heels of the crowing of Robert “Rob” Bentele as the Sole Survivor for season 7 in September 2019, the series will premiere on M-Net (DStv 101) on June 3 (Thursday) at 7.30pm. Visit the M-Net Website for exclusive show content.

The 8th season of the show is once again hosted by Nico Panagio.

Meet the 20 Survivor South Africa castaways

Here are the 20 Castaways who will kick off Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island on M-Net (DStv Channel 101) at 19:30 on Thursday, June 3:

Corporate Lawyer Amy Eliason (33), 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 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!”

Math Educator & Rugby Coach Anela Majozi (25), Johannesburg

Anela is originally from Durban but now calls Joburg 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.

Medical Doctor, Yoga teacher & small business owner Anesu Mbizvo (29), Johannesburg

Anesu 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 so that I could find out who I would be when everything was stripped away and I was pushed to my limits”.

Corporate Sales Executive & Entrepreneur Carla Gubb (29), Cape Town

Carla 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.

Entrepreneur Francois Chapman (32), Centurion

Better known as ‘Chappies’ to his friends and fellow Castaways, Francois 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.

Live Escape Game owner Dino Paulo (30), Johannesburg

Dino 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.

Structural Engineering Draughtsman Jason Brookstein (27), Johannesburg

Jason 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.

Strategy Consultant Kiran Naidoo (29), Johannesburg

The Durban-born strategy consultant 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”.

‘Boervrou and guest house owner’ Marisha du Plessis (35), Tulbagh

Marisha 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.

Lawyer Mike Laws (32), Cape Town

Mike 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 – though declares himself ‘useless’ at it.

Digital Marketing Manager Nicole Wilmans (26), 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.

Freelancer Noleen Nkanjeni (30), Cape Town

Better known as Pinty, Noleen 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”.

Aftercare Teacher Paul Cupido (29), Johannesburg

Paul 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.

‘Fun-employed’ Qieän (pronounced ‘Key-hahn’) Wang (35), Cape Town

Qieän 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 recognize me for my kind, nurturing nature and not mistaken it for someone who is not aggressive,” she says.

Chemical Engineer Renier Louwrens (30), 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,” 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,” he says.

Online Business Owner Santoni Engelbrecht (39), Strand

For Santoni, it’s a case of ‘4th time’s the charm’ for 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.

I.T. entrepreneur Shaun Wilson (40), Cape Town

Norwich-born, Jo ’burg-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.

Marketing Officer Thoriso M-Afrika (36), Uitenhage

Thoriso 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.

Creative Director and entrepreneur Tyson Zulu (24), 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. “10/10 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 & TV industry and learning, first-hand, from the biggest show in the country is a massive opportunity,” he says.

Yoga Instructor & Fitness Professional Wardah Hartley (39), Johannesburg

“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”.


*For our previous coverage of ‘Survivor SA S7’, check here.