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First Survivor tribal council turns out to be a shocker

2014-01-27 08:04
Johannesburg - The very first tribal council in M-Net’s new Survivor South Africa: Champions  turned out to be a shocker: Not only was the show’s first casualty, the season's youngest contestant Ashleigh Bryant, 23, completely blindsided by the underdogs in her tribe; her departure also indicated that the majority of the Selatan tribe members were not planning to abide by the advice of their fierce leader, former Springbok rugby captain Corné Krige.

After being voted off the series, a sad and disappointed Ashleigh had no idea how she moved from being in a secure alliance with Corné's wing-man Zavion and other strong players, to being the first contestant to depart the exotic, desolate island in the South China Sea. "It's a slap in the face," she said in her post-Tribal Council video, which can be viewed on the official Survivor SA webpage.

Ashleigh –along with some other Selatan tribe members didn't know about the existence of the other counter-alliance that was formed by the crowd who realised they were sidelined by the people closest to Corné, those who were clearly running the show at Selatan. Instead of voting for one of the weak members of the tribe, as requested by Corné, they decided to gun for Ashleigh.

"This well-orchestrated move is just the first of many surprises awaiting viewers this season," says M-Net's head of publicity, Lani Lombard. "Trust comes at a premium on this treacherous island, where the castaways will do anything to finally become the Ultimate Survivor. Be sure to tune in next week to see the aftermath of this Tribal shocker and for some additional fireworks at Utara, where soccer star Mark Fish has his hands full with his tribe."

This is how this week's episode played out:
After a cliffhanger climax to episode 1, the second episode opened with the Captains rallying their troops – Mark Fish singling out Solly for his role in securing Immunity and Corné asking Selatan to vote for the weakest person after their Immunity Challenge defeat - not the person they perceived as a threat.
The Selatan tribe members immediately broke into groups and started discussing names, with broken promises quickly revealed and secrets, anything but. Ashleigh, Philip, Zavion and Marsha quickly formed an alliance and roped in Moyra. They slipped up while trying to include Graham, when they excluded Moyra’s name from their alliance list. Graham told Moyra, sowing mistrust immediately and doing exactly the opposite of what the original foursome were trying to achieve. Graham and Moyra acted quickly, bringing in Altaaf, Shona, Gena and David to form an alliance of their own.
Philip, meanwhile, found some sugar cane and cackled away as he tore at the shoots with his teeth. "As much as I love my tribe, this is all mine!" he crowed. He later shared his stash with Moyra as a thinly-veiled bribe despite promising it wasn’t – in an effort to carry favour.
The new day then dawned with both captains receiving mail, marked as ‘Private and Confidential’. The message instructed them to select the two contestants they thought would be voted off first, in consultation with one other tribe member as advisor  to participate in a mystery task. They were not to reveal the reason behind their decision to the chosen duo or the other tribe members. Corné summoned Zavion, who recommended Shona and David a decision Corné went along with. At Utara, Mark called on Stephen and after consultation, they decided to put Sonette and Buhle up for the mystery challenge.
As the two pairs of contestants arrived at the mystery game, Nico revealed that they’d been selected as the people their captains thought most likely to be voted off at the next tribal council and that they would be playing for fire: a fire-making kit: firelighters, a striker and flint, which would allow them to start a fire in any weather. In the end, Buhle and Sonette won these prized possessions, but Selatan would also not be going home empty-handed. Both sets of Survivors were then given clues to the whereabouts of a Hidden Immunity Idol on their beaches.  

Shona and David, knowing that their necks were on the line with tribal council approaching, plotted an elaborate strategy where she would distract the tribe with tears and he would head off and search for the Idol. With Shona’s crocodile tears drawing consolation hugs all round, David headed directly to the hiding place and scooped up the Idol. "I knew exactly where the tree was. I’m observant," he confided. Later on, he showed the Idol to Shona, having hidden it in his underwear.

Meanwhile, the plotting continued, with Zavion confident enough in the strength of his alliance to chat to Graham about ‘the tribe’s’ decision to vote off Shona.
The tribe has spoken

The first tribal council of Survivor South Africa: Champions kicked off with Nico revealing that the contestants were sitting in a spot where pirates used to meet to divide their loot – and where rival pirates met their end. He then dropped the bombshell about the brief to Corné in the earlier mail, giving the rest of the tribe their first glimpse at the reason behind Shona and David’s selection. Nico called Corné out on his decision, to which the captain responded: "My perception is that Shona is the weakest woman and David, the weakest man".

Shona said that the day’s events had been 'a curveball' and that they’d been asked to represent their tribe – but had lost. "I took it badly, I didn’t want to lose," she told Nico. "I’m definitely at risk – my name was drawn as a weak person on the team".

When the time to vote arrived, Ashleigh was invited to make her mark first. She revealed Shona’s name to the camera, saying she thought the Johannesburg-based Account Manager was the weakest member on the tribe and that the rest of the tribe would be voting the same way. Without revealing the name on his paper, Philip said that he was voting to keep himself in the game a bit longer, and apologised.
Before Nico revealed the votes, he offered any contestant in possession of an Immunity Idol, the chance to play it  raising some eyebrows from the tribe members. Shona and David stayed mum, and the votes were read out. Shona’s name came out of the box three times in a row, followed by one, two, three and four for Ashleigh. The Zavion-Marsha-Philip-Zavion axis’ eyes widened at each mention of the Cape Town-based teacher’s name, with the fifth and final slip of paper drawing an open-mouthed gape from Zavion as Ashleigh was sent home and ‘his aliance’s’ perceived position of power crumbled.
Ashleigh stepped up and Nico extinguished her torch’s flame, sending her back home, empty-handed.

In the next episode of Survivor SA: Champions, the two tribes will fight again to win the Immunity Idol and be saved from a trip to Tribal Council.

For the latest updates, go to The official Facebook page is Survivor SA and the Twitter handle, @Survivor_SA.

(Photo: Facebook)
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