Pearl Thusi hosts Tropkia Island of Treasure

Munya Vomo

When Tropika Island of Treasure first aired all we could think of was margaritas and white sandy beaches. A few select celebrities and plebs were spirited away from the hustle and bustle of the real world and taken on an all-expenses paid trip to a resort island. Now, when you speak of the reality show, you can’t help but think of the late Reeva Steenkamp who was a contestant on the previous season.

Her death as a result of her then boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, shooting through the closed door she was allegedly seeking shelter behind, put Tropika Island of Treasure on the international news map. The company filming the programme at the time quickly released a video of Steenkamp making a sad farewell on the show, but the timing made it appear as if she was saying goodbye to life as she knew it. Now, with the trial of Pistorius under way, it couldn’t be a worse time for the show to return to TV, but it has.

A few changes have been made and it remains to be seen if the reality series will survive another season after this one. For starters, no celebrities will participate in the competition. This is a first because since its inception, Tropika Island of Treasure capitalised on the fact that it had celebrities taking part. In fact, the first two seasons both had Loyiso Bala in the mix. Several big names like Lira, DJ Fresh, AKA and Phuti Khomo have come and gone on Tropika Island of Treasure.

So for this season to then have no celebrity participation is like trying to sell a pizza without any toppings. You can’t start a format and then change your mind along the way.

Word on the ground is that Stimulii, the company that created the show, is no longer involved and instead sold it to another production company. Through the broadcaster, SABC1, we tried to get hold of the new company, but failed to do so in time for publication.

If it is true that Stimulii jumped ship, then perhaps it would be a good thing for the company as they received serious flak from the media for flighting Steenkamp’s footage barely a day after she had died. Many people frowned upon the matter as it reeked of exploitation over empathy.

The footage we saw of Steenkamp was not even due to be aired, because according to the chronology of events, she hadn’t been evicted at that time. So why show her farewell message prematurely, killing the suspense for the fans of Tropika Island of Treasure?

The other question that is rather baffling is that all entertainment journalists who covered this show got the memo that Tropika, the Clover company that sponsors the show, would not be part of this competition again, but it seems that is not the case any longer.

Yet another season has reached us and the show is still called Tropika Island of Treasure – with the same company still funding it. So who is telling the truth here?

We worked on previous stories in anticipation of this season where, again, the information passed to us stated that the next season would be set in the Seychelles. Well, again, that is not true, the show was shot in Mauritius.

With no celebrities taking part and so many other irregularities going on, it will be interesting to see who is going to be watching this weak attempt at what used to be a great show.

Perhaps the clout of Pearl Thusi (pictured), who is the new host of the Tropika Island of Treasure (the one truth that was told to the media) will save the show.

Check out Tropika Island of Treasure at 6pm every Thursday on SABC1.