This week’s stormy episode of "Survivor South Africa: Island of Secrets" saw one of the strongest players exit the game in a shocking, slam-bang blindside.

Seipei Mashugane, 40, will join ousted players Meryl and Geoff as the third member of the jury who will choose this season’s winner.  

After talking her way out of being the first voted-off castaway at the show’s very first Tribal Council when Tribe Sa’ula found her to be way too bossy, Seipei repositioned herself as a lovable, hospitable Mother Hen – the one to serve and take the Survivor brood under her wing.  

And, at the start of this week’s episode, she was indeed sitting pretty in the island coop.  She was part of two strong alliances (the “Amigos” from the original Tribe Sa’ula and “The Misfits”, which was formed after the second Tribal Shuffle); as a token of trust Nicole gave her the one half of the Nathan/Nicole Immunity Idol which was supposed to protect the Amigos; and the pecking order for the next couple of Tribal Councils was all worked out. 

So how and why did the majority of Tribe Manumalo decide to butcher and blindside their seemingly staunch Mother Hen? Was her clucking getting too much, or was she perhaps kicking up dust in the wrong places?

In a great twist, some of the vulnerable players received a great life-line this week. While Cobus won a duel against Nicole for an Immunity Idol on the Island of Secrets, there were also three Immunity Necklaces up for grabs at the combined Reward and Immunity Challenge. 

The three pieces of sought-after jewellery which would safeguard them at Tribal Council went to Dante, Mike and Jacques who also enjoyed a scrumptious meal at one of Samoa’s most beautiful waterfalls.    

With Aquaman Danté having Immunity, Geoff’s bestie Mmaba was next in line to be voted off. But then an over-confident Seipei, who believed that she was setting the tone for departures even though some Survivors suspected it was Rob, made a fatal mistake. 

While Rob made it clear that he was paving the way for a Sa’ula Final Four finish, Seipei envisioned one members from each of her alliances sitting next to her at the Final, namely Rob and Jacques. She also thought it would be best to oust Ouma Laetitia instead of her new friend Mmaba.

Seipei’s plan to break his vision didn’t sit well with Rob. It meant she wanted both Nicole and Steffi out – which Rob revealed to them. 

To top it off, Seipei also stated that Rob’s new trusted ally, Durāo, should leave even before Mmaba. His conclusion, after Durāo sowed more seeds of doubt: Seipei is a snake who is gathering an army in front of them; Sa’ula means nothing to her; and he will probably be on the chopping block when it’s convenient for her. She had to go!

Sepei Mashugane Picture: Supplied

One by one, Durāo, Laetitia, Steffi, Mike, Nicole and Mmaba became part of the conspiracy. Ironically, Seipei who believed she was plugged into everything happening at camp, did not pick up any signs. Not even when Rob, Nicole and Steffi concocted a story to get her to hand over her half of the Immunity Idol. She was under the impression it was her idea to give it to Rob as it would alleviate future tension between her and Nicole!

It was also important to keep the blindside a secret from Jacques. He still had an Immunity Idol and could ruin their plans if he decided to play it for Seipei.

In the end, the surprised Seipei received seven votes against her name at Tribal Council. Interestingly, Seipei stuck to the original plan and voted for Mmaba.