Zavion Kotze and Altaaf Sheik

Survivor South Africa’s Altaaf Sheik, who left the island on Sunday’s episode, has been criticised for his homophobic dig at gay contestant Zavion Kotze.

Altaaf, a 29-year-old Durban-based SAAF helicopter pilot, became the 15th contestant to be voted off the latest season of the popular reality show.

In the episode, he raised Zavion’s ire by petulantly spilling his tribe’s rice into the fire when he realised that they planned to vote him off.

He later told the camera: “King Zavion was pissed off about the rice. Maybe because he’s gay he didn’t have the balls to come and say it straight to my face. He eats the most and does the least and so I can understand why.”

The controversial comment was not well received on social media. Sunette Viljoen (‏@Sunette_Viljoen) tweeted: “@Survivor_SA Why was he allowed to make that comment about Zavion being gay and not having balls?! Shocking!! Why broadcast it?”

Marius van der Merwe (‏@MvdM76) added: “@Survivor_SA to say just because Zavion is gay and does not have the balls to do x y or z, Altaaf, you are a sad case. Shame.”

However, Phil Mphela (‏@PhilMphela) tweeted that people were “reading too much into #Altaaf ‘s no-balls-coz-he-is-gay comment towards #Zavion and calling him a homophobe is ridiculous!”

When he was asked by Channel 24 about the incident, Altaaf said: “I immediately called Zavion to apologise and we both admitted that we both said things in anger that we didn’t mean.”

He added: “Those who know me well know the type of person that I am and I’m not really concerned about public opinion.”

Zavion, a 25-year-old wedding planner from Johannesburg, has defied gay stereotypes thanks to his impressive success in the physical challenges on the show.

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