8 International Reality TV Shows With A South African Version

8 International Reality TV Shows With A South African Version

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Reality television has taken TV by storm over the last two decades, with many highly popular international shows being aired all over the globe. The popularity has been such that it has been the catalyst for a number of locally produced South African versions of programmes that are based on the international reality TV format.

With this in mind, here are 8 international reality television shows that have inspired a South African version to be created and broadcast.

Sources: Channel24, TimesLive, OkayAfrica, JacarandaFM, TheCitizen.

Lira is one of the judges in The Voice South Africa
Lira is one of the judges in The Voice South Africa

The Voice

The Voice South Africa is the local equivalent of the highly popular singing competition where the four judges face away from contestants, hearing only their voice to begin with before deciding whether they should turn for a chance to mentor talented singers. The South African version launched early in 2016, and has been a hit thus far, featuring coaches Karen Zoid, Lira, Bobby van Jaarsveld and lead singer of the Parlotones, Kahn Morbee.

Big Brother South Africa
Big Brother South Africa – you.co.za

Big Brother

The internationally replicated Big Brother reality TV show involves a selection of local ‘housemates’ who live together for a set number of days, taking on tasks and aiming to remain in the house until the end in order to emerge as the winner, while the public watches their every move. Two South African seasons took place in 2001 and 2002, as well as a celebrity version.

Karabo Mogane winner of South African Idols 2015
Karabo Mogane winner of South African Idols 2015 – sowetanlive.co.za


The American Idol craze spawned a number of international versions of the show created by Simon Cowell, with a South African edition hitting television screens in the country in June 2002. Since then the talent show dedicated to finding the best singers in the country has aired a total of 11 seasons, with future seasons still in the works. This is one of the most successful reality TV shows in South African history.

Tokyo Sexwale
Tokyo Sexwale was the host of The Apprentice – Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

The Apprentice

In 2005 SA businessman Tokyo Sexwale hosted the South African version of the reality television show made famous in the US by billionaire and presidential candidate Donald Trump. At the end of the show, which lasted a single season, Sexwale chose to hire both finalists, Zanele Batyashe and Khomotso Choma, which upset many fans of the programme due to the unorthodox finale. Instead of using the typical catch phrase of “You’re Fired”, coined by Trump, Sexwale opted to use the more diplomatic, “You’re dismissed”.

Survivor South Africa Cast
Survivor South Africa Cast – survivor.wikia.com

Survivor SA

Contentants are isolated in a remote location and must do their best to remain as part of the show while voting off other members of their group, until there is a winner. In the South African version, there is R1 million (around $68,000) prize money for the winner. Since the show first aired in 2006, there have been five seasons.

SA's Got Talent
SA’s Got Talent – Photo: etv.co.za

SA’s Got Talent

Having recently completed its sixth season of the show, SA’s Got Talent is a popular local version of the international talent show that sees people with a variety of special abilities perform their talents in front of judges and the public in order to progress through the competition. R500,000 (around $34,000) prize money is given to the winner, with the first series of the show airing in 2009.

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? – voices.nationalgeographic.com

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?

Based on the British version of the reality TV show, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire aired in South Africa from 2000-2005, with contestants asked questions in increasing levels of difficulty to win money, with 15 questions answered correctly required to win R1 million ($68,000). Television personality Jeremy Maggs hosted the programme. Only one man ever won the million in four seasons of the show, as David Paterson became the first winner outside of the US.

Strictly Come Dancing South Africa
Strictly Come Dancing South Africa – eltonvanwyk.wordpress.com

Strictly Come Dancing

Based on the global reality TV sensation, Strictly Come Dancing South Africa sees professional dancers paired with local celebrities and competing against other couples on a weekly basis to determine the winners. Judges decide on the best couple by scoring them, with a live audience adding to the atmosphere. The show, which is based on the original British version, began in South Africa in 2006, and has enjoyed seven seasons since.