Her dramatic exit from Survivor: Maldives may have shocked everyone, but former pleb contestant Sindi Lukhele says she’s glad she was voted off the island.
After 14 days of battling the elements and her fellow contestants, the 26 year old events co-ordinator from Kensington, Johannesburg was more than ready to return to civilization and a life of relative normality.
She was one of the physically strongest contenders on the Goma tribe, but a deception by celebrity contestants Roxy Burger and Vanessa Haywood put a spanner in the works of Sindi’s plans to become the ultimate Survivor.
Last night, Survivor fans watched as Roxy handed Vanessa the hidden immunity idol, saving her from what would have been an imminent exit.
Five votes were cast against Vanessa, with only Roxy and Vanessa voting against Sindi. Host Nico Panagio announced that all votes for Vanessa wouldn’t count after she chose to play the immunity idol, and Sindi was the sixth contestant voted off the island.
“I never saw it coming,” says Sindi. “But I think that everything happens for a reason and I’m glad I was voted out at that point. If I were on the jury, I would never have been able to write down someone else’s name to win a million bucks!”
Of her time on the island, Sindi says: “People don’t realise that we were stranded on a proper island and were proper starved. The thing I missed most was food! It was the saddest island ever with just one coconut tree – I don’t know how we did it!”
She jokes that she entered Survivor SA to lose weight, but unlike fellow contestant Jacques Terre'Blanche who lost 8 kg’s of pure muscle during his time on the island, Sindi’s 14-day stay didn’t warrant as astounding results.
“I was 63 kg’s when I entered Survivor and after leaving, I was down only a kilo or two,” she laughs. “Survivor: it’s not the weight-loss remedy you’d expect!”
Her first meal after exiting the island was at the duty-free section of the Dubai International airport, where she indulged in McDonalds burgers, ice-cream, chocolate cake and chocolates.
“Everyone goes to duty-free to buy Mac make-up or Guess bags because they’re so cheap,” she says. “I went for food!”
As the fourth of five daughters, Sindi is used to battling other personalities to get what she wants, but on-screen it was her inherent dislike of Vanessa which proved most entertaining.