A reality island TV show featuring the deceased girlfriend of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius aired Saturday in South Africa, just days after the model and budding television personality's death.
Reeva Steenkamp, a 29-year-old law school graduate who died of multiple gunshot wounds inside Pistorius’ Pretoria home on Valentine’s Day, appeared in an episode of Tropika Island of Treasure on Saturday.
Steenkamp and Pistorius, a double-amputee athlete who ran in the London Olympics, had been dating for several months and reportedly “seemed happy” prior to her death early Thursday. Prosecutors accused Pistorius Friday of having committed “premeditated” murder in the shooting.
On Saturday, Pistorius’ uncle said that the runner was “numb with shock” in the family’s first on-camera statement since the incident. Pistorius, 26, and Steenkamp “had plans together and Oscar was happier in his private life than he had been for a long time,” uncle Arnold Pistorius said in a statement.
Steenkamp’s family was not consulted about the decision to air the pre-taped show, cousin Sharon Steenkamp told the Associated Press, but they were not upset by the decision.
“Her last words to us personally was that she wants us to watch it,” Sharon Steenkamp told the AP.
The show's makers defended their decision.
“They want it on,” Samantha Moon, the show’s executive producer, told the AP. “This is how they want to remember her. This is what she would have wanted.”
“Definitely the SABC is going ahead with the airing of the program today,” SABC spokeswoman Kaizer Kganyago said in advance of the broadcast.
“We are deeply saddened and extend our condolences to Reeva’s family and friends,” read a message on the show’s website. The reality program, which was filmed in Jamaica last year, is set to run for 10 episodes, with the eventual winner taking home the equivalent of just over $113,000. Saturday’s episode featuring Steenkamp was the premier of the fifth season of the reality show, which pits seven celebrities against seven other contests in a battle for the cash prize.
SABC said the show would be a tribute to the late model.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.