Reeva remembered as 'angel'

2014-09-10 20:16

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Pretoria - One of the last tweets sent by Reeva Steenkamp, the glamorous model shot dead by her lover Oscar Pistorius, was to express her excitement ahead of Valentine's Day.

She hinted at having romantic plans, tweeting: "What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow??? #getexcited #ValentinesDay".

Hours later, before dawn broke on 14 February 2013, she was lying dead in the bathroom of the celebrity athlete's upmarket home in Pretoria, sparking a global news frenzy.

Pistorius - and a worldwide audience watching on live television - will hear on Thursday whether a court has found him guilty or not guilty of murdering her.

Steenkamp was an avid tweeter who regularly mentioned Pistorius in her posts, referring to him as "an amazing person".

"Reeva was the kindest, sweetest angel on earth," said her former publicist Simphiwe Majola, who was one of the last people to see her before she went to the Olympian's house on that fateful night.

Steenkamp and Majola had spent the afternoon of 13 February fine-tuning the Valentine's Day speech she was to give at Sandown High School in Johannesburg, aimed at empowering and inspiring young girls.

She was going to tell the pupils: "Be brave. Always see the positive. Make your voice heard. You will go to bed with a happy heart and open mind for the future."

Steenkamp, named one of the 100 Sexiest Women in the World by FHM magazine in 2011 and 2012, was also a law graduate who dreamt of setting up a shelter for abused women.

"Reeva, who held such a passion for women's abuse issues and frequently spoke out against domestic violence, intended to one day open an establishment where abused women would be cared for," her parents said in a rare statement after her death.

Steenkamp died at the age of 29 when Pistorius, a double amputee athlete known globally as the "Blade Runner", fired four times through a locked toilet door in his house, claiming he thought she was an intruder.

Sought after personality 

Born on 19 August 1983, in Cape Town, Steenkamp spent her early years on a farm near the city where her father was a racehorse trainer.

Later her family moved to Port Elizabeth where she attended a Catholic school.

She graduated with a degree in law from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where most of her studies were covered by bursaries as her parents could not afford the fees.

In pursuit of a modelling career and trying to get away from an abusive relationship, she moved to Johannesburg. She worked as a presenter for Fashion TV South Africa and was picked to be the face of Avon Cosmetics.

Steenkamp also modelled in commercials for major brands such as Japanese carmaker Toyota, Italian fashion brand Zui and for online jewellery retailer Sivana Diamonds.

She had become one of her country's "most sought after personalities", according to her former public relations agency Capacity Relations.

"Reeva was a star on the rise whose light was taken away from her too soon," said Majola, adding that she "was incredibly intelligent, a smart girl".

Her last appearances was on the South African celebrity reality show Tropika Island of Treasure, which controversially aired a few days after she was killed.

In the show she spoke about the need to leave a positive mark on life. "Not just your journey in life but the way that you go out and make your exit is so important," she said.

Read more on:    reeva steenkamp  |  oscar pistorius  |  pretoria  |  pistorius trial  |  crime

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