Zavion Kotze and Sonette Myburgh.

Zavion Kotze and Sonette Myburgh

The new series of Survivor South Africa, set to kick off on 19 January, will feature two openly gay contestants.

The format for Survivor was created in 1992 by gay British television producer Charlie Parsons for UK TV. However the Swedish version, which debuted in 1997, was the first Survivor series to actually make it onto television. Only in 2000, did America air their first season.

Now, as they claim, if one out of ten people are LGBT, then it’s fitting that out of the latest twenty South African castaways, two are friends of Dorothy: Zavion Kotze and Sonette Myburgh.

Zavion is a 25-year-old wedding planner from Johannesburg. Impressively, this blond hunk has also been the SA Student Decathlon Champion for the past four years. So his physical skills and planning abilities should stand him in good stead to win Survivor.

Sonette is a 40-year-old mortuary assistant from Witpoortjie. She is a mom, an avid reader, animal lover and plays women’s rugby. She has even made it to the final round of Noot vir Noot. So this feisty lady might walk away with many “vyftig randjies” if she wins Survivor.

It’s not the first time our local edition of the show has featured an openly gay contestant. That honour goes to Rajesh Govender, who took part in (but failed to win) Survivor South Africa: Malaysia in 2007.

It should also be noted that if either Zavion or Sonette win, he or she won’t be the first LBGT Survivor winner. These were Richard Hatch (USA Survivor 1) and Todd Herzog (USA Survivor 16).

Other previous openly gay reality show winners include Andy Herren (USA Big Brother 15), Benjamin Norris (AUS Big Brother 9), Nadia Almada (UK Big Brother 5), Reichen Lehmkuhl and Chip Arndt (USA Amazing Race 4), Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell (USA Amazing Race 21), Theo Tams (Canadian Pop Idol 6) and Will Young (UK Pop Idol 1) among others.

Survivor South Africa: Champions, which will see former Springbok rugby captain Corné Krige and former Bafana Bafana player Mark Fish leading the two tribes, starts on Sunday 19 January on M-Net at 17:30.

Make sure to tune in to see how well Zavion and Sonette fare in the gruelling competition!

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