A South African reality TV show reminiscent of Survivor starring Reeva Steenkamp, the South African model allegedly murdered by Olympian star Oscar Pistorius, aired Saturday despite the model's death on Thursday.
Before the South African Broadcasting Corp. aired the "Tropika Island of Treasure" program, showing the late Steenkamp, the producer of pre-taped series, Samantha Moon, issued a statement defending its airing.
"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 in the statement. "Every episode that she is in, every frame that she so ably dominates – shines with her light and her laughter echoes in every conversation, and we want to share these special memories with the rest of South Africa."
Sharon Steenkamp, Reeva's cousin, toldThe Associated Press earlier Saturday that Steenkamp's family had not been contacted by either the SABC — South Africa's national broadcaster — or the show's producers for permission to air it, but were not opposed to it because the 29-year-old South African model and law school graduate was "proud of being in the show" and reminded them in their last conversation to make sure that they watched it.
"Her last words to us personally were that she wants us to watch it," Sharon Steenkamp said, hours before the program was shown, according to the AP.
In addition, the statement said: Saturday's broadcast of Tropika Island, shot on location in Jamaica last year, "will be dedicated to Reeva's memory, coupled with a special tribute to her."
Portions released of the reality show tribute (seen in the video below), feature Steenkamp laughing and smiling on the beaches of Jamaica. Another portion shows her swimming with two dolphins, which tap her on the cheek with their snouts, the AP writes.
But it's her words that make Steenkamp's last conversation with her cousin chilling.
"I think the way that you go out, not just your journey in life, but the way that you go out and the way you make your exit is so important," Steenkamp says in the video. "You either made an impact in a positive or a negative way, but just maintain integrity and maintain class and just remain true to yourself.
"I'm going to miss you all so much and I love you very, very much."
Steenkamp died after suffering four gunshot wounds at the Paralympian's upscale home in Pretoria on Valentine's Day, police said. Various South African news outlets also reported that Steenkamp ran to the bathroom to get away from Pistorius, but he shot through the bathroom door to get to her. Officers recovered a 9-mm pistol from Pistorius' house and quickly arrested the country's Olympic star, charging him with murder.
In court Friday, prosecutors pursued upgraded charges of premeditated murder against him, which shocked many since earlier media reports said the shooting was an accident. His agent says he disputes the prosecutors' charge "in the strongest terms".
If found guilty, the double-amputee icon could face a life sentence.
Family members plan for a memorial service Tuesday for the model in Port Elizabeth, her hometown on South Africa's southern coast. Pistorius has a court appearance scheduled in Pretoria, on the same day, for his lawyers to argue that he can be released on bail. Until then he will be held at Pretoria police station.