Be brave and always be positive - Reeva Steenkamp's message to pupils

2015-10-21 20:14
(Daniel Born/The Times/Pool)

(Daniel Born/The Times/Pool)

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WATCH: Pistorius family stresses Oscar's sentence has not been reduced

2015-10-20 10:13

Pistorius family spokesperson Anneliese Burgess read out a statement outside their Pretoria home as Oscar began his correctional supervision. Watch. WATCH

Port Elizabeth - On that fateful day in 2013 when Reeva Steenkamp was shot and killed, she was due to speak to pupils at a Johannesburg school, her mother June fondly remembered on Wednesday.

"On the 14th of February 2013, Reeva planned to go to the school, Sandton High in Johannesburg, and speak to the young ladies about respect and avoiding bad choices in relationships with partners. 

"But that morning she was shot through the toilet door and she died. She did not make it to her appointment with the school," said Steenkamp.

Reeva would have asked if any of the girls at the school had received flowers, chocolates, cards or messages for Valentine’s Day, but would also have pointed out that receiving those things were very special, but not receiving anything didn’t define anybody, Steenkamp said.

She spoke at the launch of the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation for Abused Women and Children at St Dominic's Priory School in Port Elizabeth, her daughter's alma mater.

Reeva was fatally wounded on Valentine’s Day 2013 by her boyfriend, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius.

On Monday, Pistorius was placed under house arrest after spending nearly a year in prison. As part of his sentence for culpable homicide, Pistorius will spend the next four years under correctional supervision while residing at his uncle’s suburban Pretoria home.

Steenkamp said the foundation, which would raise funds for the establishment of a facility in Port Elizabeth, was launched in honour of her daughter.

"I chose this wonderful school to speak about my wonderful daughter who was molded by love and care given to her at this school, and it is significant that she became a good person and a strong Christian who cared for others before herself," she said.

"She was brought up on a farm having no money, but being blessed with amazing parents who never allowed her to be aware of her circumstances, and after moving to PE decided to study law despite the financial situation," said Steenkamp.

She then read out parts of a speech prepared by Reeva that she planned to deliver to the pupils of Sandton on the day she was killed. 

In Reeva’s words

"I worked hard to be acknowledged as one of the top 15 at university so that my studies can be 80% covered and I worked to pay off the rest.

"I broke my back towards the end of varsity and had to learn mobility again and made a massive life decision towards my career. I lost a lot of self worth during my last year in PE, before I moved to Jozi, and it took some serious soul searching to remind myself of my value in this world.

"Despite my height disadvantage and difficulty generally of breaking into the modelling industry, I put my head down and worked hard towards my dream.

"Being loved by others, although an amazing feeling, does not define you or your place in the world. 

"Accept who you are, acknowledge your absolute can dos in life and work on your maybes, so that you can be a better person for the ultimate upliftment of those around you. 

"No matter how many people say they love you, if you do not love your own self, you will never step outside the physical you. The physical you can only do so much if your mental you is locked inside you in all confusion. 

"Be brave and always be positive. Make your voice heard, your physical you seen and the presence of your mental you felt. It is that combination... that will leave a legacy and uplift [others].

"I hope that you all had an amazing Valentine’s Day and that you were spoilt with love and roses and chocolates. Go home and tell your parents, your siblings, your neighbours that they are appreciated and you will go to bed with a happy heart and an open mind for the future."

Reeva's inspiration

Steenkamp said Reeva had worked hard to establish herself as a public figure in order to address the issue of woman abuse, a subject that lay close to her heart ever since the death of Bredasdorp teenager, Anene Booysen.

Booysen was raped and disembowelled, and died in Tygerberg Hospital on February 2 2013.

Steenkamp also addressed some of the challenges she had to face following her daughter’s death.

"It has been a very hard journey and it is going to go on until the day that I die. That hurt never goes away. She would have done so much. She was so brilliantly clever. Apart from beautiful, she was very intelligent. 

"She would have made big bookmarks in the world, definitely. That was taken away from her. She will never have a baby, my grandchild. She will never have a wedding, she will never have her wedding dress that all girls dream of."

Steenkamp has forgiven Pistorius

Steenkamp said without her faith she would never have made it through the ordeal, and that she had forgiven Oscar. “One has to forgive to move on," she said, or it would make you ill. 

"I don't want to hurt him [Pistorius]," she said. "He is already a disabled person. I did not want him to be thrown into jail and suffering, because I don't wish suffering on anyone, and that's not going to bring Reeva back."

But, she said, she and her husband Barry suffered the pain of losing their daughter every day.

She also encouraged children to speak to their parents about any problems they encountered.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  june steenkamp  |  port elizabeth  |  pistorius trial

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