Everyone’s saying the same thing about the new Oscar Pistorius documentary

Cyan Turan
·3-min read
Photo credit: AFP - Getty Images
Photo credit: AFP - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

In 2015, Oscar Pistorius was convicted of murdering his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, shooting her through a bathroom door at his home in South Africa two years earlier. At the time, the crime and subsequent trial caused a media sensation.

Now, a new four-part BBC documentary, The Trials of Oscar Pistorius, which dropped in full on iPlayer on Sunday and is being serialised on Sunday nights on BBC Two, claims to shed light on why the Paralympian shot his model and paralegal girlfriend.

Only, people aren't that happy about it. The first episode aired on TV this weekend and sparked a reaction online. Why? Because much of the 90 minutes focused on Oscar Pistorius' sporting achievements, with little thought or attention given to Reeva, the woman he murdered.

Interviews with Oscar's brother and uncle recall how Oscar grew up to show sporting prowess despite having his feet amputated at the age of 11 months, but none of the interviewees associated with Oscar express remorse for Reeva or sympathy for her family. The impression it leaves is that if you're talented enough, whatever else you do can be excused - including murder.

Photo credit: AFP - Getty Images
Photo credit: AFP - Getty Images

In October, after releasing a trailer for the docuseries that made no mention of Reeva by name, the BBC apologised, saying: "We regret that the original trail did not refer to Reeva Steenkamp directly. We are aware of the upset it has caused, which was never the intention. We have removed the trail and it will be replaced by something more representative of the series, which examines in detail a number of complex issues connected to her murder."

But now that the series has been released, it seems the same issues still remain. Many women took to social media to share their anger.

Twitter user @NeolioSays said: "Disgusted with @BBC over the Oscar Pistorius documentary. Blatant glorification of a man who indeed achieved much - but what of Reeva? So little about her, her family and achievements. Utterly disrespectful to the memory of the woman who was his victim. #HernamewasReevaSteenkamp"

"This #BBC documentary is shocking! Concentrating on Pistorius’s remarkable sporting achievements, what a lovely man he was and what a tragedy it was for him!! Poor Oscar! HER NAME WAS REEVA STEENKAMP!" said another, @ColdJustice_.

Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images
Photo credit: Pool - Getty Images

In a widely-shared review of the series for The Guardian, Lucy Mangan, said: "What could have been an examination of the cultural convergence that makes South Africa one of the most dangerous places for women to live – a woman is killed by her partner there every eight hours – instead amounts to little more than a head shake over one man’s bad luck."

It seems the BBC and director Daniel Gordon missed the opportunity to give Reeva Steenkamp the spotlight she deserved.

Who was Reeva Steenkamp?

A well-known model and TV personality in South Africa, Reeva Steenkamp was also a paralegal who hoped to become a qualified lawyer.

Photo credit: Gallo Images - Getty Images
Photo credit: Gallo Images - Getty Images

Born in Cape Town to parents June and Barry, Reeva had two elder half-siblings. The family later moved to Port Elizabeth and Reeva went on to graduate from the University of Port Elizabeth with a Bachelor of Laws degree.

When she was in her early twenties, Reeva was involved in a horse riding accident and broke her back. The incident was so severe that Reeva had to learn to walk again.

Her body was cremated in Port Elizabeth on 19th February 2013, six days after she was killed.

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