- Nthabiseng Maphago is one of the brave participants who put her relationship to the test on Temptation Island SA.
- The dating show follows four couples at a crossroads in their relationship, where they must mutually decide if they are ready to commit to one another for the rest of their lives — or go their separate ways.
- In episode 6 Nthabi witnessed her partner MJ declaring his love to one of the single women.
- "Him acting like I didn't exist. It was very shocking," says the 26-year-old.
When Nthabiseng Maphago's partner of 18 months, MJ Maponya, suggested they enter Temptation Island SA on Showmax, she knew nothing about the show and was quite sceptical.
It comes as no surprise, though, as no one would be thrilled to put their relationship to the test on a public platform.
The dating show follows four couples at a crossroads in their relationship, where they must mutually decide if they are ready to commit to one another for the rest of their lives — or go their separate ways. Together, the couples experience a luxurious holiday in paradise (aka Knysna), where they live separately - with 20 sexy single men and women looking for love.
"As he was explaining the show to me, I was like, 'Oh, I don't know, I'm not sure,' but I thought let me give it a try," says the entrepreneur, model and DJ.
She adds: "I have a tough time opening up to people and MJ thought maybe it was time for me to get out of my comfort zone and experience something new and meet other people. And I was like, 'Okay, cool. Maybe it is time for me to get out of my comfort zone and try something new.'"
Just like any relationship, the pair had their up and downs before embarking on the show.
The 26-year-old describes their relationship as being light-hearted and fun.
"We were best friends, we were inseparable. I was so confident going into this process because this was my best friend in the whole wide world."
The game plan
In the first two episodes, Nthabi had some drama with the single women during their introduction and first date selection.
Nthabi says she and MJ had a game plan not to get tempted; they would have their guards up and give the singles a hard time.
She explains: "Whoever was willing to get to know us on a deeper level. We'll give them an opportunity, but we're just going to try whatever it takes just not to get tempted. And if people are really serious and want to really get to know us, yes, we'll become friends with them, and we'll let them in. But we will let them know we are not single. We can only offer friendship. I stuck to the game plan. I'm so proud of myself."
In sticking to the game plan, Nthabi does feel that she did close herself off to the process of connecting and forming relationships with the single men to a certain extent.
"I feel like under normal circumstances; I would have reacted the same way. Temptation is literally everywhere. I could be walking down the road, and someone might hit on me; that is a temptation on its own.
"I knew that if I can suppress temptation here when it's so intense and under such a huge microscope, then I know I can do it in the real world. So going into the experience, I did kind of close myself off. But then again, I did say I have a very hard time opening up to people. So, it was just a mixture of, I guess, the game plan as well as me as a person. Like it takes me a while to just warm to people and just kind of let people in."
'I've never seen that side of MJ'
In episode 6, Nthabi was left feeling shocked and betrayed after seeing footage of MJ declaring his love and kissing Bontle at the bonfire.
She says that it was difficult for her to watch that again, but she reminded herself that she dealt with the emotions.
On MJ's behaviour in the villa with the other women, Nthabi says that she has never seen that side of the MJ she knows.
'Expect more heat'
After that bonfire, Nthabi says she decided to put herself first and be more open and receptive to the experience.
"MJ was doing him. It was about time I put myself first and have a little bit of fun, let loose with my hair down and kind of live this life with no regrets."
She teases that viewers can expect more heat in the upcoming episodes.
"We had high highs and low lows, and I hope that people get to see. I hope that people learn something from my experience because I've had many women reach out to me and say, 'Oh, you're so strong. I wouldn't have known how to react to that. But you know, we draw so much strength from you and how you dealt with it.'"
Watch Temptation Island SA now on Showmax. New episodes drop at midnight every Wednesday.