“Distasteful” – that is what most South African social media users had to say when they found out that Oscar Pistorius’s 30 for 30 documentary would be airing on ESPN on Thursday evening.
“The ESPN documentary series, The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius, will air on ESPN Africa on November 19. The four-part 30 For 30 series will premiere weekly from Thursday November 19 at 20:00 (CAT) on ESPN – DStv 218; with repeats each Sunday at 20:00 (CAT) from November 22,” tweeted ESPN Africa.
The tweet was met with outrage by a number of South African tweeps.
Thanks, but I have gist of it: A violent man murders a beautiful young woman and in doing so destroys the lives of his family and hers. He lies under oath. He goes to jail. The end. A four-part series with repeats? I’d rather use Tabasco as eye-drops.
— Tourette Butler (@williamsinct) November 10, 2020
So murders get docies is RSA now?? Lol ya neh we Reali living in a sick world.
— DeenickJ Jones (@DeenickJ) November 5, 2020
— Vuyo Magazi (@blekmejikevents) November 5, 2020
So Reeva’s family and everyone that was affected by this crime has to relive it everytime
Absolutely horrible and distasteful
— Jx???? (@JaxB125) November 14, 2020
In a country with some of the most GBV in the world, #ESPNAdrica decide to gift a murderer with a sympathetic documentary that paints them as a misunderstood underdog, meanwhile according to UK viewers, it completely leaves out the murder. Stop glorifying abusers! @MultiChoice
— #BlackLivesMatter #StopGBV (@Wonder_and_Live) November 12, 2020
“Directed by BAFTA [British Academy Film Awards] award-winner Daniel Gordon and produced by Academy Award-winner John Battsek, the documentary tells the story of the South African Paralympic sprinter and international hero who inspired millions with his determination and dedication – and who was then suddenly at the centre of a murder investigation. The circus that surrounded the tragic death of Reeva Steenkamp became just as much a story of the time as his initial rise to glory.”
The documentary flashes back to the very beginning of the future Paralympic star’s life, chronicling his improbable ascent from a young boy who had both his undeveloped legs amputated as a toddler to an overnight teenage phenomenon at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games.
Shattering records and convention, The Blade Runner, as he became known, went on to compete against able-bodied athletes at the Olympics.
“His struggle against international track and field officials continued for years before Pistorius finally prevailed and competed at the London Olympics in 2012. Less than a year later, he was in a South African courtroom, accused of murdering his girlfriend,” added ESPN.
Viewers can expect to see interviews with more than a dozen of the figures closest to the story as the film recounts Pistorius’s fall from grace after killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp in the early hours of 14 February 2013 at his home in Pretoria.
According to ESPN, both the Steenkamp and Pistorius families were consulted in the research and planning for the film and were given the opportunity to be interviewed. Additionally, neither family were benefitting financially from the documentary.
The series will also be available on DStv Catch Up, as well as on the ESPN Player App.
ESPN (DStv channel 218) Broadcast dates for each instalment:
Part 1: 19 November at 20:00. Repeat on Sunday 22 November at 20:00
Part 2: 26 November at 20:00. Repeat on Sunday 29 November at 20:00
Part 3: 3 December at 20:00. Repeat on Sunday 6 December at 20:00
Part 4: 10 December at 20:00. Repeat on Sunday 13 December at 20:00
Compiled by Kaunda Selisho