Back row standing: Annalize, Neil, Toni, Tevin, Vusi, Werner, Stacey-Lee, Tom, PK, Jeanne. Front row sitting: Chané, Josie, Marthunis, Seamus, Palesa, Ace, Katinka, Murishca. Picture: Supplied

'Survivor' has been called the greatest game on earth, and for 18 ordinary South Africans the adventure of a lifetime is about to start on M-Net channel 101 on Thursday, 3 May.

In the sixth season of this hit global franchise, the 18 Survivor South Africa: Philippines castaways will be exposed to the beauty of thousands of islands connected by Pacific waters, each one home to distinct forests and bays which are teeming with indigenous wildlife, both beautiful and dangerous.

READ: Survivor SA is back, R1 million at stake

Their aim will be to outwit, outplay and outlast their fellow competitors to endure longer than any previous South African winner: to Day 39, where the finalists will have to convince a jury of ousted contestants, whom they either directly or indirectly had a hand in voting out of the game, to give them the title of Sole Survivor and the whopping cash prize that goes with it.

Meet the contestants: (in alphabetical order)

Ace (28) Graphic Designer from Johannesburg

Ace – a graphic designer from Johannesburg - might be familiar to some fans as M-Net’s “Wild Card” winner after outlasting seven other wannabe Survivor castaways through gruelling challenges over the course of three days to cinch himself a spot on the series. 

Annalize (44) Caterer from Cape Town

Annalize is a mother of two from Cape Town who runs her own catering company. Annalize describes herself as an eternal optimist, always with a smile on her face, and feels that she reads people well. 

Chane (28) Admin clerk from Bloemfontein

Chane is a pint-sized admin clerk from Bloemfontein but one should not be fooled by her petite frame. Chane describes herself as a loud, fun-loving, charismatic “boeremeisie” who doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty. 

Jeanne  (34) Radio producer from Cape Town

Jeanne is a self-confessed “class clown” and Survivor super-fan who lists watching the show as one of her passions.

Josie (28) Travel writer from Cape Town

Josie is no stranger to weird and wonderful locations, given that she’s a travel writer with her own travel blog. Her passport may be full of stamps, but her journey to Survivor SA: Philippines will be unlike anything she has previously embarked on.  

Katinka(19) Social media influencer from Mosselbay

Bubbly Katinka is the youngest Survivor SA competitor in the history of the South African series. A social media influencer and content creator, Katinka is known to her followers as a tongue-in-cheek comedian who doesn’t take life too seriously. 

Marthunis (29) Investment advisor from Durban

No-nonsense Marthunis is a devout Christian and father of one from Durban. As a member of MENSA, Marthunis is intellectually nimble but admits that he struggles to read people and their emotions, so the social aspect of this game may pose a challenge for him. 

Murishca (34) Marketing manager from Cape Town

Murishca is a mother of two who is representing all the moms out there who want to rise to a challenge and get out of their comfort zones. 

Neil (55) HR Executive from Johannesburg

Neil is the oldest castaway on the series but certainly doesn’t look it. This fitness freak and grandfather describes himself as a Comrades-running, Duzi-paddling, Midmar-swimming, bungee-jumping, mountain-biking family man and teacher. 

Palesa (28) Radio presenter from Johannesburg

Palesa is a tough cookie who has risen above adversity in her life so many times that she feels that Survivor SA will be a walk in the park for her. 

PK (28) Mining technician from Johannesburg

PK is a mining technician who viewers will come to recognise because of his signature South African flag that he carries with him at all times. 

Seamus  (25) Property broker from Durban

Seamus is a super-fan of the Survivor franchise who is not out to make any friends on the island. He confesses that he is coming into the game to play hard, cause chaos and initiate as many blindsides as possible.

Stacey-Lee (27) Business analyst from Cape Town

Stacey-Lee is a business analyst from Cape Town who also plays rugby in her down time.

Tevin (24) Medical doctor from Durban

Tevin is a Survivor boffin who has watched every season of every franchise – sometimes watching individual seasons up to 15 times.

Tom (41) Adventure camp manager from Port Elizabeth

This what-you-see-is-what-you-get family man has loads of experience when it comes to literal “survival” skills. As an adventure camp manager, Tom builds shelters in the wild for a living and sees himself as the natural provider for his tribe.  

Toni (38) Content developer from Johannesburg

Toni is a Survivor fan who describes herself as an open-minded, passionate “potty mouth”. This CrossFit fanatic hopes that she can downplay her physical prowess until later in the game while focusing on her ability to play a good social game within her tribe.

Vusi (35) Logistics manager from Johannesburg

Vusi is a family man who loves swimming, nature and a glass of whiskey every now and then. His strategy going into Survivor is to let the Alpha males take charge and put targets on their backs while keeping the focus off him. 

Werner (34) Pastor and biokineticist from Secunda

Werner is another super-fan of the series who plans to eat, sleep and breathe strategy on the island. He is a people person who has been playing the hypothetical game in his head for four years since he entered Survivor SA in 2014 but didn’t make the cut.