Cape Town – In a nail-biting penultimate episode of Survivor South Africa: Philippines, 34-year-old Werner Joubert became the 15th contestant to be voted out and the 7th member of the jury.
The pastor and biokineticist from Secunda, branded the ‘Godfather’ lost his grip on his alliance for the first time this season and was sensationally voted out of the game within sniffing distance of the final after long-time alliance member Jeanne led the revolution, convincing Tom and Annalize that none of the trio had any chance of winning the R1m prize and ‘Sole Survivor’ title if they were pitted against him in the top 3.
We chatted to Werner about being snuffed out by the people he trusted, his relationship with Toni and what he will be basing his final vote on.
You were in control for majority of the game. How did it feel taking the now top 3 with you to the top 4 and then getting kicked out by them?
You know, I led from behind. I believe in servant leadership which is a powerful tool in leadership where people feel loved and cared for and yet they buy into the vision and so that’s how I stayed invisible for a long time. But the thing is, I knew that the playing field would get so small that I would become visible.
The most important thing is that a lot of the bigger, stronger players like me need to win that final four challenge. You can often get to the final four with strong alliances but if the people who are strong in challenges don’t win and the people wake up they will vote you out and that’s what happened to me. It was heart-breaking but thinking objectively I understand why they did it.
What are you basing your jury vote on?
So firstly, because it’s a game and I gave a lot of punches I was punched on the chin. If you want to give blindsides you must be able to receive them as well. So, no grudges, no anger and no spitefulness whatsoever – I’m choosing who I think is the best player, as simple as that.
You nearly made it to the end. What did you learn about yourself throughout this entire journey?
Well, what I learned in this game is that for me, it’s incredible that the masks we wear come off. No credit cards, no Facebook, not even literal make-up - there’s nothing to hide behind. Seeing realness and vulnerability that surfaces is always better for the building of relationships than when we have our masks on. For me that is one of the greatest things that I’m taking from the island.
You had a lot of plays and were ready for anything. How did you prepare for Survivor?
I prepared mentally a lot more than the physical stuff. Physically I jogged a little bit more and got out of the gym just to shed a little bit of weight to make sure that I don’t have to carry this big 105kg body without any fuel. But mentally I would have conversations with myself in my car, I would prepare myself in asking if I should say whether I’m a pastor or not – those preparations I did. I sat down with friends and family and said I know 100% who I am so I don’t need people out there to validate me, so, I can literally go out and play the game as a free man. And knowing that I’m loved by my friends and family, I didn’t need love from these players I could literally just play the game.
You were very strategic throughout the game but let you guard down in trusting Tom. What did you see in him that made you feel you could trust him so much?
Tom turned against me, but out of all the other castaways I still felt that he was my best bet. Tom would get extremely mad if you tell him that he is a liar. His word is everything to him and so I played him on that and would often say, ‘Tom, you’re a man of your word,’ and he really is. Even though he turned against me he was still the best horse to bet on.
You and Toni formed a strong bond in the beginning, but things shifted and she was very hurt when she was voted out. What was it like reuniting with her at Ponderosa?
I move from it’s a game to personal relationships very quickly, I used to play rugby every weekend of my life so I know how to be in contact situations and afterwards shake a hand, and so for me, I never in my heart broke a relationship with her. I never personally wanted to hurt her, but soon after the merge everyone knew that PK went to the other alliance and everyone then saw that PK held Toni very close and so the bigger alliance lost trust in her. I could not bring her in anymore. She alienated herself from the larger group, even though I still liked her a lot and still to this day love her and would’ve loved to play with her.
You lost 15kg while on the island. Have you gained any of it back?
So, I came in weighing 100kg. I came in off a rugby season, so I was quite bulky and chubby but I’m not back to playing rugby so I’m not in the gym trying to build up muscle. I haven’t weighed myself, but I think I’m probably back at 95kg now. I just haven’t stopped eating.
Catch Survivor SA: Philippines Thursdays at 19:00 on M-Net (DStv 101)
(Photos supplied: M-Net)