Survivor SA's Tyson on why he didn't change his vote: 'I didn't trust Chappies'

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Tyson Zulu on Survivor SA: Immunity Island.
Tyson Zulu on Survivor SA: Immunity Island.
Photo: M-Net
  • After surviving numerous attempts to get him voted out, Tyson's torch finally got snuffed on Survivor SA: Immunity Island.
  • The 24-year-old ignored Chappies' olive branch to change his vote at tribal council.
  • "It was just another thing where Chappies was playing with me again, so I didn't trust him," says Tyson.


Tyson Zulu, 24, a creative director and entrepreneur from Johannesburg, saw his torch get snuffed on Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island even after Chappies changed his mind and decided not to vote for him. But Tyson not changing his vote to Anela led to his ousting.

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In this Q&A, we find out more about his bad blood with Chappies, why he decided not to change his vote and his emotionless game strategy.

In our professional lives and in our families, we all have people we just can't stand and limit our interactions with or have decided we will never speak to again. How awkward was it to take the initiative and to go and have that last discussion with Chappies, who you really didn't want to talk to at all, to try and get him to not vote for you?

I decided to go and talk to Chappies because I was pretty much a unanimous vote for going home at that point in the game, but I didn't just want to lay down and not go home without having tried anything to save myself.

As much as over the season I've said I wouldn't go to an enemy in the game and try to save myself, but when I was in that position, I realised that I'd come so far in this game, and I've had to fight every single time, so why would I stop now? At least if I go out, at least I go out knowing that I've tried everything to stay in the game.

You said to Chappies you don't have any respect for him, and I'm wondering once you have a cold war-like conflict like that with someone, how bad is it being near someone that you just can't stand, but you can't escape the physical environment?

The beauty of it was – between Chappies and me – we literally stayed out of each other's way. We were never forced to be within the same space. We would come together when we were eating as a tribe, but he'd be over there doing his own thing, and I'd be over there doing my own thing. We never really mixed, although we're all together at camp. We just stayed out of each other's way because we knew we just didn't get along.

Survivor SA Immunity Island
A CURVEBALL AT TRIBAL: Nico revealed that there is one last immunity challenge.

If you didn't vote for Nicole and just switched to Anela after Chappies said he wouldn't be voting for you anymore, you'd still be in the game. Was it even a possibility to vote for Anela, or was it a case of it being impossible for you to vote for him?

With Anela, it wasn't the same as with Kiran and me because evidently, Anela voted for me, and that's what got me out of the game.

That vote happened how it happened because, after my conversation with Chappies at the beach, there was a conversation Chappies had with Anela. That conversation came back to me after I had spoken with Anela about it. Chappies basically gave me false hope and was just playing around with me for the sake of it. That made me write Chappies off.

When Chappies then approached me at tribal council, in my mind, it was just another thing where Chappies was playing with me again, so I didn't trust him. I had a conversation with Anela at tribal where I told him that I'm still voting for Nicole, stick to the plan. So I counted on Anela changing his vote as opposed to trusting what Chappies was saying. Anela was a proven flip-flopper in the game, so that's a better decision to make.

Survivor SA Immunity Island
LAST SHOT AT IMMUNITY: Tyon during the gruelling immunity challenge.

A few episodes earlier at tribal, you said: "I'm done being an emotionless robot." Was it your conscious strategy to not show emotion initially, or are you usually more emotionally guarded?

It was a strategy to hold off on showing my emotions because I know that I'm an extremely passionate person. In a game like this, it wouldn't have bode well for me, so I knew that coming into it, I'm passionate and emotional, naturally. I'm also very reserved, so I chose to stick to being more reserved and emotionless because if I chose to be more myself completely, I would have said a lot more than I did, and it probably would have worked against me in a game where you have to bite your tongue all the time.

What surprised you that you didn't know others said about you or did?

Between Kiran and myself, we were very perceptive of what was going on. I'm not surprised about anyone's game. Kiran and I were never on the receiving end of a blindside -we pretty much knew what was going on and how everyone was playing.

The one thing I'd say surprised me the most was how much people were saying. I knew Santoni was speaking to everybody, but I had no idea how much she was talking to everybody – for instance, if you look back at the merge episode where she goes around telling the entire tribe about the idol. I knew she told people but I didn't know she told that many people. That was a surprise to me.

Survivor SA Immunity Island
TYSON'S TORCH IS SNUFFED: The tribe has spoken.

How did it feel when your torch got snuffed, and you walked away, and what did you do at Ponderosa?

I was expecting it for at least five tribal councils before it happened, so every single time, I'd go into tribal expecting it to happen. When it finally happened, it wasn't such a surprise. I was more proud that I'm not a superfan, but I made it all the way to the final four. When I got to Ponderosa, it was just a case of starting to get back to real life.

Physically the game affected me a lot more than it affected anybody else. I lost 10kg, and my body was just not what it used to be. When I got to Ponderosa, I was very uncomfortable. For the first time ever, I was very insecure in my body; I didn't want to be around a lot of people all the time. I just kept to speaking to Kiran, and Shaun was also very helpful. It was just a transition time to get back to myself and to feel less insecure because my body had completely changed.

Survivor SA: Immunity Island finale airs Thursday at 19:30 on M-Net (DStv 101).

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