10 Questions With Survivor SA’s Aquaman Danté de Villiers

"I learnt that one can survive on the bare minimum food sustenance and a strong will."


Nadim Nyker |

Coffee shop owner Danté de Villiers has left the game in Samoa but he’s still on the island; now being part of the Survivor SA jury and re-united with pal Meryl Szolkiewicz. This was after he won three reward challenges in a row – becoming a serious target.

Related: Survivor SA’s Meryl Szolkiewicz Is First To Join The Jury

As one would expect from the likes of an Aquaman, Danté fought to stay in the game aggressively until the bitter end.  He tried his best to protect the weaker players in the tribe, which he coined the “loose change players” – those insignificant ten cents thrown in the centre of your car console each day which can add up to a lot of money at the end of the month.

But his attempts to pull together these “loose change players” by inviting them to enjoy his rewards with them bombed out. As did his attempts to get them to vote of his own nemesis, Rob, when the opportunity presented itself at the previous tribal council.

Related: How Survivor SA’s Rob Bentele Got His Body & Mind Ready For The Island

Without immunity to save him, the tribe had spoken, with Danté  being the twelfth person to be voted off M-Net’s seventh season of Survivor SA and the fourth member of the jury to choose the Sole Survivor at the Final Tribal Council.

Men’s Health caught up with the 31-year-old from Dwarskersbos on his Survivor SA experience and his mental preparation going in.

Till the very end you were a survivor, with your name on the chopping block a few times, especially after the merge. What was your game plan to survive the last few tribal councils?

After merge my only real hope was to convince and convert the loose change players to vote with me or at least in my favour. I also aimed to do my best to win the reward and immunity challenges to keep me safe.

Do you feel your time was up?

I think it was a matter of time until I was too big a threat – it was pretty obvious that I was keeping sustenance away from what appears to be a bullet-proof alliance of the Spit Shaker Seven. By the time of my exit I managed to gain an overall experience of what the game entails, making the departure much easier.  I have no regrets at being voted off to becoming the fourth member of the jury.

Did losing Meryl weaken your position on the island? What would you have changed?

Losing Meryl did not necessarily weaken my positioning on the island, instead it made me focus so much more on my individual game and not being dependent on an alliance.

I would not change the way I played the game as I played it on my terms and not being led, with no regard of the outcome.

What are you hoping to bring to the jury?

I will be the jury member who will be tough to convince. The title of Sole Survivor belongs to one of the remaining tribe members showing consistent game play, and who is evolving strategically. This should also be someone who takes integrity with them to the end.

How much did physicality play a role in the game? And what were your strong points?

Danté covered in mud during a Survivor SA challenge.

During the initial part of the game one can get away with the physical aspect, but at some stage one needs to understand when to balance or bring in the social game as well.

During the initial part of the game one can get away with the physical aspect, but at some stage one needs to understand when to balance or bring in the social game as well.

Taking on the ‘provider’ role ensured that I had a comfortable position in an initial alliance.  After merge, it was definitely the fact that I was able to have the determination to win reward and immunity challenges without additional support from the other tribe members.

Tell us about your preparation going in?

There wasn’t initial preparation regarding the physical aspect, but rather mental preparation. I knew that at some stage a strong mental state would be a major advantage to stay motivated under those trying conditions.

Was that prep enough? What did you learn?

I went into the game thinking it was enough, but being there, it challenged me so much more – on so many levels in so many different stages. I learnt that one can survive on the bare minimum food sustenance and a strong will.

What did you bring to the game that you feel was unique?

Being on the chopping block often I remained honest and did not sugar coat my thinking under trying circumstances.  My determination and focus, especially after merge, kept me going all out to win at challenges.

Tell us about life now, what are your plans and how has Survivor SA changed your life?

Life now, very happy to be reunited with my girlfriend and our dog child, spending as much time as possible travelling and being outdoors and running my coffee shop.

Being part of Survivor SA hasn’t changed my life dramatically, but many of the experiences will resonate with me for a long time—since I have a huge love for nature and adventure—it just makes me want to get out there even more.

Who are you backing to win?

Let’s see who can convince me as a member of the jury.

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