Passionate, loving and eccentric Otter remembered at memorial

2016-12-23 20:00
Steven Otter's memorial. (Jenni Evans, News24)

Steven Otter's memorial. (Jenni Evans, News24)

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Cape Town - Slain City of Cape Town transport department official Steven Otter was praised as passionate, eccentric and loving by friends and family paying tribute to him at a packed memorial service in Claremont on Friday.

Some of the mourners came barefoot in their suits and black dresses in honour of Otter's own penchant for shunning shoes.

He died while defending his family in a house robbery early on Reconciliation Day, December 16. Otter, his partner Nathalie Williams and her child Madison were woken up by robbers in the Harfield Village home they had recently moved into before he was killed.

The congregation at the Baptist Church also found out a few interesting things about the former journalist whose communications job at the city included smoothing the way for the city's popular MyCiti bus routes.

According to his matric yearbook, his goals were to join any anti-poaching unit, or Greenpeace, and to set up home in the Knysna Forest to live with the elephants.

With a picture of Otter and his shaved head set on a candlelit table, Reverend Peter Smallbones said the Uitenhage native had also studied the piano at school and volunteered in the school's SPCA.

His Narcotics Anonymous sponsor revealed that he was very committed to his 12-step programme and had a milestone coming up.

EFF supporter

Transport MEC Brett Herron's voice cracked as he read a message from Mayor Patricia de Lille, who had worked with Otter when she was still president of the Independent Democrats.

She said he recently brought the breakthrough the city needed for a R20m roads upgrade in Imizamo Yethu by visiting every home in the area to get residents on board with the project.

De Lille said his talent and the way he protected vulnerable people would be missed. She said it was very upsetting that he was killed on a special day like Reconciliation Day.

His boss Toni Van Niekerk said the first time she saw him when he started in her department he was barefoot in the office wearing his young daughter Maya's shocking pink earmuffs.

"He tried on, and on, and on, to be a better person," she said through tears.

A eulogy read on behalf of the Economic Freedom Fighters tickled congregants who may not have known that he had thrown his lot in with the red-bereted upstarts, and it emerged that a controversial photograph of him wearing an EFF red beret was indeed him.

At the time when the photograph started doing the rounds on social media he had denied that it was him, but congregants heard that he had called in sick to attend the event.

EFF Western Cape chairperson Bernard Joseph later said Otter was on the party's interim provincial committee, but pulled back and kept a low profile because of his work in the DA-run council.

His emotional partner Nathalie, who was with him when he was killed, said, "I never knew Steve as Stevovo. I just knew him as Stevie - a gentle, kind soul."

The service ended with the congregation singing Lean on Me.

Read more on:    steven otter  |  patricia de lille  |  cape town

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