“All the work is here,” Rob Bentele tells us from Johannesburg, where he lives now. He grew up among the green valleys and hills of KwaZulu-Natal.
In September Rob won R1 million and a brand-new car when he was crowned winner of the seventh season of reality series Survivor South Africa.
“Wow, so many positive things have happened to me. I’m extremely happy,” Rob says in an exclusive interview with YOU. “I’d like to be back on TV soon – the presenter of my own show which will include adventure, travel and positive talking points.”
He can’t reveal more at this stage. “You’ll be the first to know,” he promises.
“I’m crazy about Jozi. The pace is fast and you get a lot done. KwaZulu-Natal is so beautiful, you focus on that and don’t get around to working,” he jokes.
He travels a lot for work, especially to Cape Town and Durban, and he tries to visit his family as often as possible. “In work in the entertainment industry. I enjoy doing MC work and motivational speaking to share the lessons I learned on the island in Samoa.
“I speak at schools, free of charge. My life has been changed for the better and I’m extremely grateful for that. I want to inspire kids.
“I come from humble beginnings in a small town. I had many financial difficulties but now, though it’s exhausting, I’m happy for the opportunity to chase my dreams.”
He’s planning to learn to scuba dive. And next year, he’s set aside 40 days from his schedule to spend time with Buddhist monks in the Himalayas in Nepal.
Next week Rob and Nicole Capper, a finalist on Survivor SA, plan to climb Mafadi in the Drakensberg, the highest mountain peak in SA.
He still sees some of his fellow “castaways”, including Durão Mariano and Rocco van Rooyen.
“I just signed a six-month lease [in Joburg] to give me enough time to find a good property investment to buy into,” Rob says. “I’m not looking for anything big or fancy, just something comfortable, modern and safe.”
Though he enjoys the fast pace of Jozi, he says, “When I need to slow things down, I take a drive to the Magaliesberg to unwind and get in touch with nature again. I miss my family in KZN. Also, it’s that culture of ubuntu that I miss the most about Zululand, my heart will always be there no matter what.”
He’s not interested in the lavish lifestyle, he says. “I’ll always be a kid from the bush who’s hungry for adventure.”
Looking to the future, he’d like his fans to know he’s not planning on leaving anytime soon. “South Africa is my home. And I want to keep inspiring them like I did on Survivor.”