Nicole celebrating her win with her boyfriend. Picture: Supplied
Nicole celebrating her win with her boyfriend. Picture: Supplied

Challenge beast slayer Nicole Wilmans wins ‘Survivor SA: Immunity Island’

By Debashine Thangevelo Time of article published Sep 16, 2021

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Season eight of M-Net’s “Survivor SA: Immunity Challenge” got off on a slow start but, boy oh boy, did the blindsides keep the nation on tenterhooks right until the end.

The two-hour finale special opened with the reunion cast in attendance - Mike Laws and Qieän Wang joined virtually - and affable host Nico Panagio explaining that it was filmed in a production bubble thanks to Covid-19 forcing everyone to adapt.

And the final three - Anela Majozi, Nicole Wilmans and Francois "Chappies" Chapman - were seated together ahead of the final episode playing out.

Chappies, Nicole and Anela at the finale. Picture: Supplied

Of course, Chappies, who has been dubbed the challenge beast after winning back-to-back challenges, which has been unprecedented in the game so far, has been the firm favourite.

There were points where he referred to himself as the winner. But you know what they say about counting your chickens before they hatch.

When it came to the gruelling endurance challenge, Anela was the first to bow out, even though he beat his personal best.

Although his mindset was hellbent on winning, his body was not on board and he blacked out of the challenge leaving Nicole in a very powerful position as the winner of the immunity necklace as well as the decision-maker on who she will be taking with her to the end.

The final three battling it out for the immunity necklace and a shot at the title. Picture: Supplied

It was not an easy choice. While Chappies tried to nudge her along by letting her in on his breakfast with Anesu Mbizvo, Anela chose to allow her to choose with her heart.

Of course, Chappies was emotional at the tribal council.

He said: “I’ve reached the climax of the gratitude of realizing that I was able to have played and still play the most amazing game on earth.

“So much growth towards the entire journey. And I had the privilege, if this is my last night, to end it off on such a high. I would rather head for the stars and hang on the moon…”

Nico pointed out that the game has a way of humbling one and he was spot on. Before Chappies had his torch snuffed out, he gave Nicole his last two coconuts.

Back at camp, before Nicole and Anela have to say their bit and sway the jury to vote for them, the two were treated for a fabulous breakfast feast.

When it came down to it, though, both made heartfelt statements.

Anela unpacked his social coaching masterclass of how he played the game. He unpacked his philosophy and how that translated in him outwitting, outlasting and outplaying.

And Nicole pointed out that she played the game with honesty, integrity and trust.

She was proud of the game she played. She pointed out that she never backed away from a challenge and she was the only woman who won an individual game.

Next, the jury got to ask questions or make a statement. Some like Anesu and Marisha du Plessis were undecided.

Santini made it clear that she was no fan of Anela’s - even though he tried to respond to her statement.

Nicole and Anela pleading their cases at the final tribal council meeting. Picture: Supplied

Shaun Wilson was clearly Team Anela all the way. And Amy Eliason and Kiran Naidoo came clean about the fact that they underplayed their real professions to get an edge over their castmates.

After one final chance to have their say, the jury then voted for the person they felt deserved to win.

Back in the studio, everyone was looking very snazzy as opposed to their rustic island vibe.

Nico also had a one-on-one with Chappies, unpacking some of his notorious moments, especially when it came to stealing food.

Of course, now it’s become a running joke.

But he says he wouldn’t have played the game differently. He’s happy with the outcome.

With the entire tribe in attendance, Nico also addressed the elephant in the room, where he unpacked early exits, strategies, the animosity among some of them, the backstabbing and the curveballs they didn’t see coming.

Interestingly, Chappies beat Renier, Santoni Engelbrecht and Kiran for the title of the Mahindra Fan Favourite, which saw him drive off with a Mahindra KUV100 #Dare.

Of course, everyone, including Anela and Nicole were on tenterhooks for that final vote count.

Nicole bagged five votes to take the title and the prize money of R1 million, proving that dynamite comes in small packages.

The cast at the reunion special. Picture: Supplied

In slaying the challenge beast, she proved everyone who underestimated her wrong.

There was plenty of blood and sweat in this game but it ended with happy tears all-around. And the best woman definitely won!

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