News / Africa

TV Show Featuring Slain 'Blade Runner' Girlfriend Airs in South Africa

Reeva Steenkamp is seen in an undated handout publicity photo taken in Jamaica during the shooting of the reality show 'Tropika Island of Treasure.'Reeva Steenkamp is seen in an undated handout publicity photo taken in Jamaica during the shooting of the reality show 'Tropika Island of Treasure.'
x
Reeva Steenkamp is seen in an undated handout publicity photo taken in Jamaica during the shooting of the reality show 'Tropika Island of Treasure.'
Reeva Steenkamp is seen in an undated handout publicity photo taken in Jamaica during the shooting of the reality show 'Tropika Island of Treasure.'
Anita Powell
South African television Saturday broadcast a reality show featuring running star Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend, who was shot to death this past week at his Pretoria home. The show aired just days after the Olympic athlete was charged with murdering her.  It is another twist in an already shocking case that has made headlines around the world.

Here is Reeva Steenkamp in her own words:

“I’m going to miss you all so much,” she says to the camera in a video tribute aired just days after her death, “and I love you very, very much.”

"The way that you go out and make your exit is so important, you either made an impact in a positive way or a negative way," Steenkamp is heard saying in the program, "Tropika Island of Treasure," the South African reality series now in its fifth season.

In the premiere of the 10-episode show, Steenkamp shows herself as a woman who is determined, adventurous, thoughtful and considerate of other contestants - but also, a bit cheeky.

“Be jealous,” the leggy blonde model says as she speaks from a white sand beach while wearing a bikini and blowing kisses at the camera. The reality show, which was filmed in Jamaica this season, subjects 14 contestants to physical and mental challenges in a bid to narrow the field to one winner, who receives about $113,000 dollars.

The series' producer defended the decision to air the program after Steenkamp's death, saying she would have wanted the show to go on.

The program's lavish setting is reminiscent of Steenkamp’s life in South Africa.  Her Twitter page is awash with news of glitzy parties, film sets, red carpets and fashion shoots.

But the show warns, almost prophetically, paradise is not all it seems.

In the show, contestants are asked to perform tasks that appear easy but are in reality difficult. In the first episode, Steenkamp effortlessly trounces a male competitor on an aquatic obstacle course.

In real life, Steenkamp also posted photos online of herself visiting animal shelters.  She made passionate comments against South Africa’s rape epidemic and was planning to visit a school to make a speech on the day she died. 

Police have said Steenkamp was shot four times through Pistorius’ bathroom door.  Afrikaans-language newspaper Beeld quoted a source who said Pistorius carried Steenkamp’s lifeless body to his front door and attempted, unsuccessfully, to administer mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Charged with murder

The next day, Pistorius sobbed in a Pretoria courtroom as he was charged with murder.

Pistorius’s family has disputed the murder charge. His uncle, Arnold Pistorius, said the couple had quickly become close and that Pistorius “was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time.”

The chief prosecutor has said the team will argue the murder was pre-meditated. Legal experts say it is likely Pistorius’s team will argue self-defense.

South African legal scholar Pierre de Vos says the sympathetic portrayal of Steenkamp will not have any legal consequences. De Vos teaches at the University of Cape Town.

“If we were in a system where there was a jury trial, I would be very concerned about a reality show airing. But because we have a system in which judges decide on the guilt or innocence of a person after listening to the facts, I would suspect it probably won't have an impact, because either the judge who might hear the case is going to make sure they don't watch the reality show, or they will try and keep an open mind.”

Hagel Engler, an old friend and colleague of Steenkamp, said the TV show was just a small step on her path to fame. Engler was an editor of FHM, a popular men’s magazine that featured Steenkamp on the cover.

"I think she probably would have been cool with it. She was on a trajectory to stardom, I guess, and she wanted to be well known and I guess she wanted to be successful and famous and she was trying to build her celebrity brand.  So that's where she was headed.  And I guess the show helped to do that, and it's even more tragic that she's not around to enjoy it."

Meanwhile, if convicted, Oscar Pistorius could spend the rest of his life in prison.

You May Like

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs