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

Photogallery Early Nigeria Results Show Buhari Leading; Tampering Concerns Mount

One local group monitoring polls is concerned politicians might use security agencies to 'fiddle with the election collation process' at state level More

UN: 7,300 Civilians Killed in Boko Haram Insurgency

A senior UN humanitarian official tells the United Nations Security Council 1,000 people have been killed this year More

Turkish President Warns Iran About Trying to Dominate Middle East

Warning comes amid growing concerns inside Turkey that it will be sucked into a sectarian conflict with its neighbor More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More