EC hopefuls compete in ‘Survivor SA’
The seventh season of Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets will see three tribes face the treachery of the natural elements in Samoa, while dodging the even harsher mind games of their opponents.
The new season premieres on M-Net on Thursday night. Among the 21 castaways hoping to outwit, outlast and outplay their tribe members are East London-born Meryl Szolkiewicz, 31, and Tsolo-born Felix Godlo, 29.
The two Eastern Cape castaways will be tribemates in tribe Ta’alo and are ready to test their limits in the gruelling and manipulative game.
Szolkiewicz, a pilates instructor, wife and mother of three, said she entered Survivor SA to have her own adventure and that she hoped to make an impact on the game.
“I have always been a massive fan of the show, and I didn’t even think it was possible for me to enter. My life for the last few years has been tailored around the needs of my family, so seeking my own adventure was far on the periphery,” said Szolkiewicz, who holds a degree in musical theatre and dance teaching and now resides in Pretoria.
“This year my kids are all enrolled in school and, with the incredible support of my husband, I entered in order to discover a place where I can be brave and vulnerable for myself.”
She said that enduring the elements and holding her tongue were some of the biggest challenges she would have to face on the show.
“I’ve watched seasons where castaways were soaked morning and nights, to the point where they had wrinkly fingers and toes. Dealing with the harsh weather will definitely be a big challenge.
“I can be very loud and bombastic at times, so I’m coaching myself to talk less and smile more. To be completely on my own, conniving and trusting myself for myself will be a new space,” she said.
As a former rugby player, Godlo said the game would be mentally trying, but he was always up for a challenge.
“The physical elements are affected by one’s mental state but I think it’s almost all mental. The physical will be slightly challenging, being that I’m a big fan of food and very good at eating, so that might play a role too,” said Godlo, who is married to his Afrikaans high school sweetheart and welcomed a baby boy in October.
Now a sales consultant in Pretoria, Godlo previously played for the Blue Bulls and the Lions. In his time as a university student he also represented the TUT Vikings, and later Old Selbornians.
“My wife is the biggest Survivor fan and she actually got me to enter and coached me quite a bit in preparation for it. It is something my wife has wanted to do since the first season came out in America.
“But when this opportunity came she was pregnant with our son so, sadly, she couldn’t enter,” said Godlo.
Catch the 90-minute premiere of Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets on M-Net Channel 101 at 7pm on Thursday to see if Szolkiewicz and Godlo have what it takes.