And “dangerous” Meryl becomes Manumalo’s first member of the jury

After more than twenty days of twists and turns, blatant lies, numerous alliances, sneaky moves and shocking Tribal Councils, host Nico Panagio surprised the remaining thirteen castaways in M-Net Survivor SA: Island of Secrets with brand new buffs! Never before have there been so many South African Survivors in a merged tribe, but it was indeed time to start their much-awaited individual game in Tribe Manumalo.

As to be expected, the scramble for power started straightaway. Nicole and Geoff, who destroyed Rob’s bromance with Nathan, and moody Danté were the obvious choices to be ousted first after merge. But after some smart strategic moves from various players, 31-year-old Pilates instructor Meryl became the 9th person to be voted offSurvivor SA: Island of Secrets and this season’s first jury member.

It was a close shave for Geoff, however. Meryl only received one more vote than last week’s scheming puppet master.

When Nico read the votes, it was clear that Rob, who pretended to be a “follower” at Tribal Council and Danté drew their lines in the sand.  Initially, Rob’s plan was to take out Geoff,  but then he realised that Meryl was campaigning 24/7. If he gave Meryl too much rope, she would hang all of them, he believed.

For Danté it was plain and simple. He had to finish his unfinished business with Geoff.

Until her name was read, Meryl still thought Nicole was the person ruling her “gaggle of followers” and those not gunning for Geoff. She wasn’t sure who the others would be voting for, but didn’t think she was the “dangerous” individual people were referring to at Tribal Council.

How the episode played out:

Welcome to Merge Manumalo!

At the Togitogiga Waterfalls – one of Samoa’s many breathtaking natural features, the castaways were invited to a spectacular Merge feast provided by Steers, featuring King Steer burgers, their famous hand-cut chips, flame-grilled chicken and ribs and to wash it all down: ridiculously thick ice-cold milkshakes. Jacques couldn’t believe it, and Mmaba was close to tears. In addition to that, each castaway received a care package with some supplies back at their new camp.

The First Individual Immunity Challenge:

The Individual Immunity challenge tested the castaways’ balance and endurance as they sought to keep their footing on narrow balance beams, whilst holding on to a crossbar that is attached to a bucket. If their hands drop, the bucket falls and the water spills out, eliminating them from the challenge. One by one they fell, and after a fierce battle in two hours and thirty-five minutes, Geoff was down and out and Steffi won Immunity and chose herself to go to the Island of Secrets.

How Manumalo voted:

While Steffi decided to forfeit her vote by going to the Island of Secrets, Jacques still had an extra vote. The way the castaways voted this week, may just be indications of where the old alliances stand. Geoff, Mike, Rob, Mmaba, Nicole, Durāo and Seipei wrote Meryl’s name and the votes against Geoff came from Cobus, Danté, Meryl , Laetitia and Jacques.

Why fans will never forget Meryl:

Meryl will always be remembered for being the lady at Aquaman Danté’s side. They shared a special alliance that stayed true to the end. Her triumph in episode five was phenomenal. After winning the Reward Challenge, Meryl spotted a clue in the roof of the smoothie bar hut and retrieved it with the help of Danté, and later she secured Ta’alo’s win after solving the sliding puzzle for Immunity and retrieved the hidden Immunity Idol, which she nervously hid in her panty, then her bra and finally her shoe. Feeling the heat, she decided to tell the Tribe about the Idol but prematurely played it in episode 8.

Photo: SurvivorSA
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