USA And SA Survivor Castaways Team Up

Jimmy Tarantino and the Naledi children
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Sixteen castaways who have all participated in the US and Survivor SA editions of this globally popular Emmy-Award international series are set to take part in a Survivor-Esque showdown in South Africa next week – with the proceeds of this event benefiting a worthy South African cause.

Battle of the Bush is a five-day, four-night survival challenge pitting past cast members of the popular reality TV shows Survivor (US) and Survivor SA against each other and fans from both countries in a number of physical, mental, and social challenges to determine who deserves the title of “Best of the Bush”.

The challenge itself is set to take place next week from 19-23 September outside of Potchefstroom, on the grounds of the Lekwena Wildlife Estate as well as Naledi Christian Academy, who is the charity beneficiary of the event.

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Bill and Susan Weibel with Jimmy Tarantino

Survivor superfans and reality TV enthusiasts are also able to meet and greet the cast members a Battle of The Bush after-party at Lekwena Wildlife Estate on Monday 23 September.

Johannesburg and Cape Town fans can also purchase tickets to special meet-and-greet events at The Joshua Tree Restaurant in North Riding, Johannesburg on Wednesday, 25 September and at Radisson Red Hotel at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town on Saturday, 28 September.

The Survivor castaways from the US making the trip to SA are: Bob Crowley (Survivor: Gabon winner); Ramona Gray (Survivor: Borneo); Wendall Holland (Survivor: Ghost Island); Jill Behm (Survivor: Nicaragua); James “Jimmy” Tarantino” (Survivor: Nicaragua); Brice Johnston (Survivor: Cagayan); Desiree Williams (Survivor: Heroes vs Healers vs Hustlers) as well as Tina Scheer (Survivor: Exile Island)

The Survivor SA contestants taking part include: Tom Swartz (Survivor SA: Phillippines); Amanda Hoosen (Survivor SA: Malaysia); Marsha Wessels (Survivor SA: Champions); Tejay Pillay (Survivor SA: Maldives); Ace Chetty (Survivor SA: Phillippines); Shona MacDonald (Survivor SA: Champions); Nichal Ramchander (Survivor SA: Malaysia) and Toni Tebbutt (Survivor SA: Phillippines).

Tickets to all these Survivor-related events are available for purchase online at

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Bob Crowley

Battle of The Bush is the brainchild of South African-based missionary and major Survivor superfan, Bill Weibel (61), who decided to combine his loved for this popular reality TV show and his heart for making a difference within the community.

Bill, together with his wife Susan, are two Americans who have been living in South Africa since 2004 when they were called from their work with the local church in Pennsylvania to South Africa to serve as missionaries in South Africa, ministering primarily to orphans and vulnerable children in township areas. For four years they worked as volunteers with various South African NGOs, mostly in the greater Johannesburg metropolitan area, gaining experiences and learning the lay of the land. From 2008 to 2012 they began working alongside existing South African NGOs, partnering with them to provide additional spiritual, human, and financial resources with the intention of empowering the local NGOs to better serve their communities.

In 2012, a decision was made to develop a teaching, training, and resource centre to train, empower and release local community members to minister to their communities. After a three-month search for the proper location to base the centre, the township area of Ikageng, just outside of Potchefstroom was selected.

For Weibel, the Battle of The Bush event is a charity fundraiser to benefit Naledi Christian Academy, a private preschool and primary school for disadvantaged children located in Ikageng Extension 11. Currently, 111 children are enrolled in Naledi’s preschool and primary school, where they received the highest quality Christian education, a place of safety, food security (two hot nutritious meals a day), love and care for very low, highly subsidised school fees.

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The line-up

The school is currently halfway through a building campaign to enlarge the facilities to accommodate up to 300 children. In addition to providing for the children, the school has created 20 jobs for residents of the community and when the building campaign is finished it is anticipated that 40 people will be employed on a full-time basis by the school.

It is for this reason that Weibel devised Battle of The Bush and reached out to the US and SA Survivor communities to help raise awareness about the needs of Naledi Christian Academy.

“After having established personal relationship with a number of past Survivor (US) and Survivor SA cast members and demonstrating our passion for the mission we are trying to do in South Africa by building a school for disadvantaged children, we have to serve the children and decided to host this amazing event – as all the Survivor castaways from US and SA were eager to be a part of this fundraising campaign,” shares Bill.