Reality show with Reeva upsets SA

2013-02-17 20:48
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Johannesburg – It was billed as a fitting tribute to "an intelligent, beautiful and amazing woman" but the airing of a Caribbean reality TV show featuring Reeva Steenkamp, the girlfriend of Paralympic star Oscar Pistorius two days after she was shot dead has upset some South Africans.

In particular, women's rights activists criticised an edited clip at the start of Saturday night's 'Tropika Island of Treasure' in which law graduate and model Steenkamp talks about her "exit".

"I think that the way you go out, not just your journey in life, but the way that you go out and you make your exit is so important," she says, leaning against a palm tree in a pre-recorded interview on the show's set in Jamaica.

At the end of the tribute, presumably recorded when she was voted off the show, she blows kisses to the camera and says: "I'm going to miss you all so much.

"I love you very, very much."

Pistorius was charged on Friday with murdering Steenkamp in the early hours of Thursday, although his family have denied the charge.

Initial reports said Pistorius may have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder.

Rachel Jewkes, a gender and health researcher at the South African Medical Research Council (MRC), said the clips were particularly insensitive in a country where a woman is estimated to be killed by her partner every eight hours.

"There was a big question about whether it should have been shown at all, or whether they were trying to get audience ratings off the fact she had died," Jewkes said.

"These sort of quotes don't make you feel any better about the suggestion they are exploiting her death."

Shockwaves

Show producer Samantha Moon said the decision to air the programme on Saturday as scheduled was difficult but ultimately she wanted to share the "special memories" of Steenkamp.

"Reeva was an intelligent, beautiful and amazing woman and we feel it would be an injustice to keep that unknown from those who did not know her personally," Moon said.

Steenkamp, who was shot in the head, hand, chest and hip, according to domestic media reports, will be buried on Tuesday.

Many South Africans thought the decision not to delay the show until after the funeral was wrong.

"It was very insensitive to put it on air before she was even buried," said 30-year-old insurance consultant Montle Ndlovu.

"It's such a sad story. She was young and pretty and had her whole life in front of her."

The downfall of Pistorius, the first double amputee to run in the Olympics, has sent shockwaves through South Africa, where many saw him as a rare example of a hero who transcended the racial divide that lingers in the ‘Rainbow Nation.’

The ANC’s Women's League called for the courts to deny bail to Pistorius to show the government was serious about stopping gender-based violence.

"Pistorius must be treated like any other person accused of such crimes and no special circumstances should be considered based on his celebrity status," the League said.

Pistorius is being held in a Pretoria police station until his bail hearing resumes on Tuesday.

 

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