In another blindside elimination on Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets, Mike Venter became the 16th person eliminated from the hit reality show.

In the dramatic tribal council session, Rob spilled the beans that Mike was the target for the evening. Mike was under the impression that Steffi would be the one who got the boot this week and hearing his name came as a massive shock for the radio presenter. During the tribal council, Rob called Mike out for plotting against him throughout the series and admitted that he was hurt when he found out – because Rob never once plotted against Mike. Mike was eventually voted out in what will go down as one of the most dramatic tribal councils of the season.

We caught up with Mike shortly after his elimination:

You played an incredible game. What was the biggest adjustment to life on the island for you?

Thank you. I really missed having light at night time, and having a blanket (or a long sleeve shirt). The constantly wet feet, dry skin and terror of the rain were all unpleasant realities.

You proved that it’s important to play the social game just as much as the physical game. Why do you think you connected with so many people on the island?

I believe that a social game is the most significant consideration when playing Survivor. I spent time listening to people, as if you can learn the intricacies of a person’s life, they are likely to become far more endeared to you. I would remember particular facts about people (Seipei’s daughter’s favourite song, Meryl’s last performance, etc.) to indicate my sincere interest in them, which was a huge asset to my social game.

You had some great alliances on the island. Talk to us a bit about that.

Mmaba, Geoff and myself bonding very closely at Laumei, and seeing us picked apart was gut-wrenching. I also developed a strong relationship with Rob, but it was a utility rather than an end-game plan. I liked Dante very much, but he believed in people who were unwilling to work with him. Durao lacked a vote, Laetitia was not really on his side, Cobus was unwilling to work with me, which meant he lacked a number he believed he had. Nicole and I seemed to get on very well, but she was unwilling to go along with my plan, which invalidates much of what I believed to be the truth. Durao seemed largely unreliable from the moment he appeared extremely loyal to Rocco at Laumei, but I had very few alternatives.

Where do you think your game started taking a turn for the worst?

Durao telling Rob about my plan to blindside him was the end point for my chances.

Your elimination came as quite a shock to you. What are your thoughts on how Rob has been playing the game?

Rob is a fantastic Survivor player.

Which challenge was your favourite on the island?

I enjoyed the family reward challenge, as competing with my dad was a hugely consequential moment in my life.

Now that you’re on the jury, what qualities are you looking for when selecting your winner?

I want to vote for someone who can justify their decisions on the grounds of logic, though emotion might just blind my decision-making.

Now that your time on Survivor is done, what else are you busy with?

I won a Liberty Radio Award soon after arriving home, and now work at East Coast Radio in KZN. I am still studying at Wits, I travel between Durban and Jo’burg every week. I am taking it easy, enjoying my surroundings and eating like a king.

Catch Survivor SA: Island Of Secrets every Thursday at 19h00 on M-Net.

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