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By the end of October last year, Graham Jenneker looked wild.
He’d spent 28 nights sleeping under a tree on a near-deserted South China Sea island, had lost 11kg and hadn’t brushed his teeth for a month.
On Monday the Capetonian was a changed man – back working as a stockbroker for Investec, studying for his third degree and 12kg heavier.
“Yes, you look good so thin, but the camera flatters you – you actually look quite sickly,” he said of his previous island body.
But, far more than the extra kilograms, he is now R1 million richer.
On Sunday night the 29-year-old was crowned Ultimate Survivor on M-Net’s Survivor SA, and was looking forward to going home to his family on Thursday night.
The next big item on his agenda could be a wedding, and the family he wants to start with his girlfriend, Erin Arendse.
This, after all, was what he told his fellow contestants he wanted the prize money for.
They live in a flat in Green Point. She works as a regulatory affairs pharmacist for Cipla Medpro. He drives a BMW 120i.
Jenneker was in high spirits after a good night’s sleep following his victory – partly due to “a bit of a pre-final shindig” before the announcement.
“I sort of knew it was a bad idea but did it anyway,” he admitted.
Jenneker returns to another celebration in Cape Town on Friday at his family home in Stellenridge, near Tygerberg.
With him will be his mother, Jacky, who works part-time at the University of Stellenbosch, his father, Graham, a teacher at False Bay College, and older brothers Mark and Craig.
After surviving Survivor, and winning, it’s still the Cape’s great outdoors that excite him most – volleyball on the beach, basketball and trail running, and perhaps even breaking his record of 20 minutes up Lion’s Head.
Jenneker is studying for another tertiary qualification – the next words behind his name will read Diploma in Accounting Science from Unisa.
He is “looking into” whether he will pay tax on his R1m prize.
And his idea of a “present to self”, with his winnings?
“Does a good steak in a great restaurant count?” he asked, before adding: “Okay, and maybe a TAG Heuer watch.” - Cape Argus