Corne lobbied to keep her in his team, referring to her as the “spirit” of Selatan.
So well liked was she, hers was among the four core names on the Rugrats’ roll call.
And Survivor evictees interviewed after having been ousted all point to her as the kind of gal who could easily take the title of Miss Congeniality, were this a competition of a different kind.
Sadly, Gena Alkana’s natural charm failed to beguile her adoptive Utara tribe, who were clearly more interested in maintaining their perverse status quo than in making any effort to engage with a newcomer who could have proved a great asset. If only they’d afforded her the opportunity to do so.
Already miserable at the prospect of having to leave her happy-spirited Selatan home for the discordant – and disorganised! – Utara environs, the fact that her newfound teammates immediately zoned in on her was a double blow to the usually upbeat PR manager. It was exacerbated by the blatant betrayal of the person she believed she could rely on as an ally: fellow “Selatan transfer”, Dave.
“I was so shocked! When we were on the Selatan island, Dave spoke to me, saying I was the only one who made an effort with him, that no one else really liked him and I was the only one who made time for him…
“But the moment he stepped on to Utara, he threw me under the bus!” declares an indignant Gena during our chat.
Not only because of his duplicitous “I know nuttin” stance when approached about the theft of Gena’s immunity idol – despite being in on it – but because, unbeknown to us as the viewers, he sang like a proverbial canary.
“He went to Utara and told them about the Rugrats alliance; he told them I would go back to Selatan given half the chance and he told them that we (Selatan) had an immunity idol,” Gena explains.
That Dave did so without any prompting or persuasion on Utara’s part is what made his to-camera declaration during tribal that “the only reason you (Gena) are going home tonight is because Corne dropped you” all the more galling.
Nevertheless, Gena remains stoical, graciously acknowledging that even if she had managed to play the idol, it would have “bought me one more night, at most… I had literally tried everything I could up to that point (including confronting Utara off-camera about the judiciousness of their decision to gun for her); I didn’t get into the game to give up, so I had decided that I was simply going to fake it till I make it”.
Unfortunately, the vindictive agenda put in place by Utara’s two peas in a poisonous pod, Shane and Marian, proved too noxious.
Be that as it may, at least Gena will always be able to hold on to the knowledge that she went down with gumption and her integrity still intact.
Although there is that niggling question about international Survivor franchise regulations clearly stating that stealing or meddling with anyone’s personal possessions (like, oh, rifling through their bag) is strictly prohibited…
• Survivor SA: Champions, Sunday on M-Net at 5.30pm.