39 days. 18 people. 1 Survivor!
Tevin Naidu looked set on becoming that “1 Survivor” in Survivor South Africa: Philippines, which was the sixth season of the South African reality television show Survivor South Africa. The season was filmed in January and February 2018 in the Palawan province of the Philippines, with Tevin as the youngest male castaway on the show. For fans all around the world, Tevin is still remembered as the mastermind of his season! Tevin’s character on Survivor South Africa has got to be one of the game’s very best. His love for neuroscience, sociology, psychology and politics are what led him to Survivor. His witty one-liners and charismatic gameplay, with his natural storytelling abilities, allowed him to evolve from Survivor fan to favourite, with viewers labeling his character “The Mindanao Puppet Master” and “The Godfather of Survivor South Africa”, among others.
For Tevin, Survivor is one of the greatest psychosocial experiments on television. He has been a fan of the show, since its inception, and has watched every episode of every season. Survivor was a truly life-changing experience for him. While he entered hoping to stir the pot and be as entertaining as possible for the fans, his authentic relationships with his fellow castaways made it difficult for him to play the cut-throat game he initially intended on playing. Survivor, after all, is about backstabs and blindsides. Tevin is deeply fascinated by the philosophical concepts that arise from the game:
“Think, for a moment, about what happens in Survivor. Strangers are isolated on a desolate island and forced to forge a society together. They fight for food, shelter, comfort and immunity from death. Why death? Well, every few days, they all attend a tribal council wherein a member of the tribe’s torch is snuffed and they leave the game. If fire represents your life, that means every night we actively kill or sacrifice another member of the tribe in order to save ourselves. It’s pretty deep when you really think about it. It’s interesting to see how people behave when they play the game. Hell, it’s also intriguing to see how fans react to watching the show. It tells us so much about how humans behave when they believe that their world is now governed by a new or different set of morals, ethics and values. This is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the wide variety of philosophical concepts that arise from this game. Survivor is fascinating and fantastic. I love it.”
It comes with no surprise then, that this Medical Doctor with a true passion for the game, left fans utterly gutted when he was blindsided by his fellow castaways midway through the season. When asked about it, Tevin had nothing but admiration for his colleagues.
“There’s no better way to leave the game of Survivor than leaving as the product of a blindside.”
Unfortunately, Tevin’s keen eye and amazing attention to detail meant that he was able to pick up on his castaway’s plan while at tribal council. PK’s comments to Nico and the whispering between PK and Toni informed Tevin that they were going to flip on him. He desperately tried to dissuade PK from making a big move too soon before the merge, but it fell on deaf ears, sending the doctor packing. Tevin’s blindside would be followed by a dismal performance by those who took him out of the game – which only vindicated what Tevin had told them prior to his departure. It certainly was too early to lose a legend. Many fans were disappointed, not only by his early departure, but by the fact that Tevin would have been the only suitable opponent to Pastor Werner’s eventual rise to prominence within the game. Tevin will surely go down in Survivor history as one of the greats. We look forward to his return to the game. If South Africa ever does have an “All-Star” version of the game, we cannot think of anyone better than Tevin to take up that first spot pick!
“I’d be willing to play again. I love the game. It’s also sentimental for me. Survivor is the only television show that I still watch with my mom (since its inception in 2000). I save episodes until we’re in the same city so we can watch it together. It’s a part of our family’s culture at this point. So yeah, to answer your question, I’ll play again. I still intend on becoming the Sole Survivor.”
Survivor South Africa: Philippines airs on MNet (DStv Channel 101), Mzanzi Magic (DStv channel 161) and is still available online for streaming on Showmax.