The brand-new season of Survivor South Africa premieres this week and ahead of the show’s highly-anticipated premiere, we’ve got an inside look at the castaways heading out to the islands of Samoa for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. This time, the show’s producers are switching things up by having three tribes from the get-go.

The third tribe in Survivor SA: Island of Secrets will be known as Laumei with mustard as its tribal colour. Laumei is the Samoan word for “turtle” and in Polynesian culture this is quite an important animal. The turtle, often tattooed on bodies, represents long life, eternity wellness, harmony and peace. Will this powerful symbol stand the seven members of Laumei in good stead? Or will they not be able to keep up with the Survivor warriors in the other tribes?

The seven castaways in the Laumei tribe are:

Laetitia Le Roux
Age: 58
Occupation: Nurse
From: Randburg, Johannesburg
What you need to know about her:
At 58, Laetitia is the oldest castaway on Survivor South Africa, but even though she may seem like a typical Afrikaans granny she is much more than just the doting mother of five children and four grand children. Apart from being a unit manager in a subacute rehabilitation hospital, she has a remarkable CV. She boasts a Master’s Degree in Nursing Education, attended to high-profile patients in Tripoli, Libya and competed in several endurance events! To top it off, all three of her sons are SA water polo players. Laetitia calls a spade a spade and can’t stand what she calls lazy and stupid people as well as big mouths and know-it-alls who are just big bags of wind. This “Super Ouma” has been looking after others for all her life. She admits that Survivor SA is her opportunity to finally “do it for herself”.

Mike Venter
Age: 21
Occupation: Radio Presenter
From: Parkrand, Boksburg
What you need to know about him:
Energetic, optimistic, exuberant and motormouth-millennial, Mike is the youngest of the Survivors in the South African show’s seventh season. While studying law, Mike started pursuing a career in radio, first honing his skills at varsity radio station Voice of Wits and now doing a stint on EastCoast Radio. If someone can change the world, it’s Mike! Being an intelligent only-child from a middle-class family, Mike excelled at a prestigious boys’ school where he was head prefect in Matric, but it’s also important for him to debate socio-political issues, challenge conventional ways of thinking and questions the status quo. “It’s time for the youth to stand up and claim their place in the sun – by winning Survivor,” he says. Only problem is he can’t sleep without taking a hot bath and gets “hangry” by 9:30 in the morning. But maybe he’s just joking – because it’s obvious that he can talk a good game and likes a smile on his face.

Rose-Lee Smith
Age: 33
Occupation: Crime Scene Analyst
From: Paulshof, Johannesburg
What you need to know about her:
CSI meets Survivor SA in the guise of a mother-of-three, super-observant Rose-Lee. After completing her Honours Degree in Criminology, she joined the SAPS to use her analytic skills to ensure that those who break the law end up behind bars. Rose-Lee is a born-and-bred Durbanite who has been living in Johannesburg for the past couple of years. But no matter where she is, people have the tendency to open up to this down-to-earth good listener to tell her their deepest and darkest secrets – or just to get some advice. Rose-Lee admits that she’s quite a girly-girl. Behind the beautiful, down-to-earth surface, however, is one tough cookie, who is used to seeing blood, guts and guns. At the beginning of the year, Rose-Lee left her husband and kids to attend brutal police training and she’s recently lost 30kgs after focusing on pursuing a healthy lifestyle.

Mamba Molefe
Age: 28
Occupation: Investment Analyst
From: Plumstead, Cape Town
What you need to know about her:
Mmaba is a young, successful Zulu woman with an infectious laugh. This warm, friendly and sociable financial analyst, who actually may love people more than numbers, is also passionate about developing and uplifting her community. In her spare time, she runs an NGO that cultivates young leaders and also tutors Grade 8 mathematics in Gugulethu. Originally from KZN, Mmaba moved to Cape Town to study a B.Com in Accounting. She describes herself as a steady, easy-going individual who can also be persistent when there are goals to achieve. Not only did she learn how to ride a bike in her late 20s, she also worked hard to be able to afford a plot of land for her mother to build a house on. “I think people will underestimate me,” the bubbly go-getter says. “And that just suits me fine.”

Durāo Mariano
Age: 28
Occupation: Hotel Guest Liaison
From: Newlands East, Durban
What you need to know about him:
Charming, confident and diplomatic Durāo from Durban holds a finance degree, but decided to go into the hospitality industry because he loves food, people and travel. Changing careers indeed took him all over the world, where he has learnt to adjust to many different environments. Durāo believes life is full of endless possibilities and if someone tells him that he doesn’t take life seriously enough, he will reply calmly that it’s his life and he chooses the best way to live it. Working in the hospitality industry, difficult customers happen to be his bread and butter, but on Survivor he plans to have his bread buttered on both sides! The one thing he won’t do, however, is use foul language. He claims to have never uttered a swear word in his life.

Geoffrey Cooke-Tenneson
Age: 33
Occupation: Home loans Consultant
From: Colenso, KZN
What you need to know about him:
Geoffrey is married with children and works as a home loans consultant. And that’s where normality ends in Geoffrey’s world. In his own words, he’s a quirky goofball who has the tendency to gossip like a school girl. To that he adds that he is a shameless manipulator who has been called a “he-bitch” more than once. Yet, this tenacious lover of whatever causes drama knows just what to say to butter people up and make them love him. Yes, he is sneaky and conniving and doesn’t really care what people think about him – as long as he does what is needed to win Survivor. Not so long ago risk-taker Geoffrey won a national body transformation challenge, losing 30kgs in just three months. Then he ran the Comrades marathon after training for only six months. Anything is possible when you’re Geoffrey from Colenso in KZN.

Rocco Van Rooyen
Age: 26
Occupation: Pro Athlete
From: Stellenberg, Cape Town
What you need to know about him:
Sweet muscle-man Rocco is an accomplished, fiercely competitive Olympic athlete and javelinist who went to Rio in 2018 and has represented South Africa for more than six years. He may be soft-spoken, but he is a fighter of note. “I am someone who has never quit in the past and I will dominate in the Survivor challenges,” he says. Yes, Rocco wants to succeed at all costs and if trouble strikes, he is known to bounce back – as his recovery from three serious injuries has proved. Giving up is not an option as he knows that hard work, a positive attitude and teamwork are what it takes to succeed at anything in life. Also don’t underestimate his social skills. He is a good guy with good intentions and makes friends easily. So what could be his downfall in Survivor SA? Maybe creepy crawlies. “Goggas really freak me out!”

See the castaways on the Survivor South Africa’s Ta’alo tribe here.
See the castaways on the Survivor South Africa’s Sa’ula tribe here.

Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets begins on M-Net from Thursday 16 May at 19:00.

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