Widely predicted and expected to become the winner of Survivor SA: Immunity Island on M-Net (DStv 101), Francois “Chappies” Chapman made it so close and yet so far to last 38 out of 39 days.
After winning a breath-taking string of previous ones, the ‘Challenge Beast’ was slain in the final individual immunity challenge. Chappies’ torch got snuffed after Nicole Wilmans voted him off the island.
The transformational coach from Pretoria ruffled feathers throughout the game stealing food from the tribe and having his midnight snack at Chappies’ diner. And while he didn’t win the title or the prize money, he was crowned fan favourite at the finale, driving away with a Mahindra KUV100.
In this Q&A, Chappies tells us about coming so close to the title, his game plan, and what the experience has taught him.
How do you deal with disappointment, and you’re probably still dealing with it – how do you find something good out of something bad?
It’s a very good question and one that I’ve been pondering and been processing the last while; the last year or two of my life, you know.
The answer for me is the things that we find happen to us actually happen for us. Let’s say that not winning Survivor SA is bad in most people’s hearts or opinions. Yet in my heart, in the bigger scheme of things, down the line, we’re going to know exactly why I didn’t and why I wasn’t destined to win this season. There’s a reason for it that we don’t understand now, but we’re going to understand in the bigger scheme of things.
I choose to see the things that don’t go my way that it happens for me, and not necessarily to me. Accepting the fact that things are actually happening for you, you can actually overcome some of the worst things that life throws at you – death, the loss of business. Any adversity happening to you gives you the opportunity to grow. It allows you to discover things about yourself.
Watching the show, what surprised you that you didn’t know about?
There’s so much, Thinus. If I can point out two things, I knew that the cast misunderstood me as a person, but I didn’t know to what extent, and that was crazy to see that these people really hated me to the core of their beings. They really hated me from the beginning.
It tells me that some of the strategy to mess with their minds actually worked. Them getting to know me now, I get a completely opposite vibe from them. As much hatred as I’ve experienced from them, I now get love. It was really interesting to see how much they’ve hated me at the beginning.
Most of the other things were not that big of a shock. Another thing that shocked me a bit was that I’ve got flaws – I know I’ve got flaws – but I also didn’t know to what extent these flaws are and how big they are. This is what the game really emphasised for me.
It’s like a magnifying glass highlighting both your weaknesses and your strengths. A lot of my weaknesses were highlighted, and now I’ve got to take responsibility to work on that, which was shocking to me. I knew sometimes I say shit without thinking, but I didn’t know to what extent, and I didn’t know to what extent it hurts other people.
What did you learn about how people behave from this experience?
I could go on for hours about this because I’m still analysing the reactions of the cast as we go along.
First of all, this experience made me realise that we are spiritual beings within the game called life. Then, I had the opportunity of playing the game of Survivor SA within the game of life. As you go further along, people tend to get controlled by their emotions more. That was interesting for me to see.
They would lose self-control, and their emotions would rise much more to the surface and take control of the vehicle. They would say things and do things that they don’t usually do in their real lives because of the emotional control, because of the very harsh environment and the fact that they’re in survival mode.
In the game, either the spirit could rise, and you could have an amazing transcending experience, or the emotions and the body can rise, and you can have an egoistic experience that you’re only going to realise afterwards because you don’t realise that emotions are driving you while they drive you. You only realise that afterwards and go, “Oh shit, did I really react like that?” Sometimes I look back at some of the confessions, and it doesn’t feel – I can’t even remember some of the things I’ve said. Emotions also took over me at some stage.