Survivor South Africa: Philippines | Welcome To Merge, Araw Tribe

After 22 days of twists and turns, the ten castaways on M-Net’s Survivor South Africa: Philippines awoke to ‘Treemail’ announcing that they had made it to Merge in Thursday night’s (28 June) episode – but for Vusi, the game ended at this new dawn after a strong run in recent Immunity and Reward Challenges had put a huge target on his back.

“You’re all ‘bang scared’ of me,” muttered Vusi as he collected his things after picking up 5 votes at the first Individual Tribal Council of the season. “They were scared,” he reiterated as host Nico Panagio snuffed his torch to send him to Ponderosa Island to become the first member of the Jury, who will ultimately award the R1 Million prize and confer the title of ‘Sole Survivor’ on the castaway they deem most worthy.

Vusi had taken a back seat to the other ‘alpha males’ early on in the game, content to let them duke it out for superiority and fly below the radar. It was only after the tribe shuffle which saw him join Visayas with Palesa, Tom and Chane – alongside former Mindanao member Murishca – that he was forced to plant his flag. His role in winning challenges for Visayas in three consecutive challenges across episode 7 and 8 started drawing attention to his skills as he showed himself to be as adept at physical challenges as he was at puzzle games. A refusal to ‘throw’ a challenge in episode 7 to oust Tom ended up costing him dearly, with the Adventure Camp Manager ultimately playing a major role in his demise.

When the three tribes gathered before Nico Panagio, he ordered them to drop their buffs for the second time this season. There was to be no ‘tribe shuffle’ twist this time: the dawn of the new age in the game was celebrated by the new tribe’s name, ‘Araw’ – meaning ‘sun’ in the local Tagalog language – and a fresh set of pink buffs.

Best of all, the castaways were invited to refuel with a Merge feast provided by Steers, featuring a long table stacked with Mighty King Steer Burgers, sauces, hand-cut chips, barbecue ribs, flame-grilled chicken, soft serve and chocolate & strawberry milkshakes. Once they’d finished their feast, they’d return to a new camp, stocked with all manner of provisions – including a surprise gin & tonic welcome drink and a limited supply of coffee. Amidst the celebrations, Vusi prophetically admitted that he couldn’t help glancing around and knowing that 4 or 5 of his new tribemates wanted to vote him out.

The first Individual Immunity challenge of the season tested the castaways’ balance and endurance as they sought to keep their footing on platforms floating in the ocean. After 43 excruciating minutes, Chané lost her balance and dove into the water, leaving Toni to claim the new Individual Immunity Necklace.

Back at camp, everyone was scrambling for position, but one thing was immediately clear – the ‘red’ vs ‘blue’ tribal alliance formed on day 1 was still very much a factor. With PK astride two alliances, things shifted continually, but seemed to focus on voting Tom out. When Chané and Palesa tried to reel Tom back in, he rebuffed their advances to align with Katinka, Annalize, Jeanne, Toni and Werner to run a complicated game: they would intimate to Palesa’s alliance that they were voting for Tom; tell PK that they were voting for Palesa and then all vote for Vusi.

At Tribal Council, the original ‘red vs blue’ division was laid bare, with the way food and coffee was controlled and divided, a major bone of contention. The fact that all the big decisions seemed to be run through one person that nobody was game enough to name, seems set to play a major role in the future of everyone at Araw.

Tune in to Survivor South Africa: Philippines next week (Thursday 5 July, 19:00 on M-Net 101) to see if the identity of the Araw puppetmaster can be unearthed. Also make a note to catch the fun-filled YouTube episode of Survivor South Africa: Philippines #LiveAfter on the DStv Online YouTube page, where the voted-off castaway will be in conversation with host Phil Mphela at 20:05 each week, directly after Survivor SA airs on M-Net 101.

There are also some magnificent prizes up for grabs on the Survivor SA: Philippines website:

•    A Huawei P20 Pro phone valued at R15 499.
•    A Cape Union Mart voucher valued at R10 000.
•    A delicious Steers Wacky Wednesdays voucher for one year, valued at R2 800.

All you have to do is to go to and answer the weekly quiz question. Every entry then also goes into the draw for the grand prize of a tropical island holiday experience for four, brought to you by Cathay Pacific and Club Med. And, if you’d like to earn additional points, explore the island and find the Huawei P20 Pro phone in our 360 VR experience and explore  the Survivor SA islands, living area,s as well as each challenge site, as the weeks progress.

Survivor South Africa: Philippines is also streamed live on DStv Now and available on DStv Catch Up within 24 hours of the live show. You can also catch the repeat on Sunday afternoons at 17:00 on M-Net Channel 101.

Survivor SA is powered by the Huawei P20 Pro and is produced by Afrokaans Film & Television.

By Andrew Germishuys

Founder of SAMDB, Andrew has worked full time in the film industry since the early 2000's. He has trained as an actor, completing his LAMDA Gold Medal, and attending many courses in Cape Town acting studios, with masterclasses with some of the international industries top directors, producers and filmmakers. Working as an actor and armourer in the film and television industry have given Andrew a great balance of skills across the board when it comes to the entertainment industry. Catch him on Twitter: Instagram: IMDb: