Murdered cover girl to appear in reality TV show
Blonde covergirl Reeva Steenkamp, who was allegedly shot dead by her lover Oscar Pistorius, will appear in a pre-recorded celebrity reality TV show in South Africa Saturday, two days after her death shocked the nation and the world.
The 29-year-old, who was shot four times at the Olympian’s home in the early hours of Valentine’s Day on Thursday, will make a posthumous prime-time debut in “Tropika Island of Treasure.”
On Saturday Pistorius, the 26-year-old South African Paralympics gold medallist, faced a third night in police custody, accused of murdering Steenkamp, the woman who described him as her “boo” and “an amazing person”.
The reality show, shot on location in Jamaica, features the slain model and law graduate as well as several local personalities competing for one million rand ($113,500) prize money.
Producers decided not to shelve the show, instead painting its broadcast as a tribute to Steenkamp.
Forensics teams are still working at Pistorius’s home to try and establish what took place before and after Steenkamp was shot in the head and hand.
“She was happy, healthy, beautiful and vibrant and that’s the way she should be remembered,” said executive producer Samantha Moon said in a statement.
In an earlier statement Moon said the decision to broadcast Tropika Island of Treasure 5 was taken after “much deliberation.”
“This week’s episode will be dedicated to Reeva’s memory.”
The show will be broadcast on state television channel SABC1 after Steenkamp’s mother had given the showing her blessing.
“Yesterday the mother agreed that we should go ahead and we are free to go ahead and we are working on how to pay tribute to her,” said Kaizer Kganyagon, a spokesman for SABC.
The audience is expected to be much larger than the 2.5 to 3.0 million viewers who normally watch the show, which is now in its fifth season.
“The number that we expect will be obviously more than the normal, because now everybody wants to see this person that was killed two days ago.”
The hour-long show will air at 6:30 pm (1630 GMT), with a special tribute to be broadcast before.
Trailers show a beaming and vivacious Steenkamp clad in a bikini and other skimpy clothing.
The show is described as “pure adrenaline-fuelled drama… Whether diving off 75-foot Jamaican cliffs into the ocean, recreating ‘Cool Runnings’ or meeting Jamaican celebrities”.
Born in the southern city of Port Elizabeth, Steenkamp moved to Johannesburg six years ago to pursue her modelling career. She had been dating Pistorius since at least November.
After a tear-filled court appearance Friday which saw Pistorius break down repeatedly in the dock, a source at Brooklyn police station in Pretoria said the track star had “slept very well.”
The 26-year-old had sobbed as Pretoria magistrate Desmond Nair announced a single charge of killing Steenkamp.
The medal winner was expected to receive visits on Saturday from family and from members of his defence team, who are preparing for a bail hearing that will begin Tuesday ahead of what is expected to be a lengthy trial.
The state is expected to strongly oppose bail and prosecutors have indicated they will argue the murder was premeditated, meaning he could face a life sentence.
In a statement issued by Pistorius’s family and management company after the court appearance, the fallen star said “the alleged murder is disputed in the strongest terms.”
He also offered his condolences to those close to his former lover.
“Our thoughts and prayers today should be for Reeva and her family — regardless of the circumstances of this terrible, terrible tragedy.”
Meanwhile unconfirmed details of Steenkamp’s last hours appeared in the South African press.
Beeld, an Afrikaans newspaper which initially broke the story of the murder, reported that two hours before the shooting neighbours complained to complex security over the loud fighting at the house.
Beeld had initially said Steenkamp was shot having been mistaken for an intruder, but this claim has been dismissed by police and prosecutors.
The daily also reported that Steenkamp was shot through the bathroom door while on the toilet.
Using unnamed and unquoted sources the paper said Pistorius carried Steenkamp in his arms downstairs and tried performing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
When guards arrived Steenkamp was breathing, but was gargling blood because of her injuries.
The paper also reported that aside from the weapon used to kill Steenkamp, Pistorius had pending licence applications for seven other guns, including .223 semi-automatic — the same type of weapon used to kill 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the United States in December.