'We have always had the same interests': Meet the twins who live identical lives

By Litaletu Zidepa
04 June 2016

Good things come in threes, so the saying goes, but these twins are living proof two can also be a magic number.

Good things come in threes, so the saying goes, but these twins are living proof two can also be a magic number.

The only way people are able to tell them apart is one twin has a beauty spot on her cheek and the other is 1 cm taller than her sister. They’ve always done pretty much the same things in life – but no one could have foreseen them getting Master’s degrees in precisely the same field – then working at the same place to help others.

Throughout their school careers Tracey and Danielle Steenkamp (35) enjoyed tricking people into believing they were who they weren’t – Tracey pretending to be Danielle and vice versa.

TWINS Babies

“In high school we were in the same class because we had the same subjects, so that was fun. But for a while we didn't share one of our classes so our friends encouraged us to swap classes for fun to see if the teacher would notice,” Tracey says. And sure enough, the teacher didn’t . . .

Besides having the same jobs at the Institute for Sports Research at the University of Pretoria, the sisters – both of whom hold degrees in Human Movement science -- enjoy the same food, films and sports.

TWINS First day at school

They have the same circle of friends and even the same character traits, but Danielle describes herself as the softer one, while Tracey says she’s “cheekier”.

They both excelled at gymnastics while growing up and chose Human Movement Science because the course had a sports element to it. They say they also use their biokineticist skills to help others.

TWINS Competed in Artistic Gymnastics

“We have good people skills and as the years of studying progressed, both of us realised we had a passion for working with people and wanted to make a positive difference in people’s lives,” Tracey says.

Read more: ‘They look like twins and even have the same gestures!’ the incredible way these long-lost sisters found each other after 56 years apart

“People treat us very similarly to how we treat them -- with love, care, compassion and respect. They make us feel special.”

Born to Andre and Susan Steenkamp in Pretoria in 1980, Danielle arrived two minutes before her twin, and jokingly refers to herself as the older sister.

They say their parents were supportive, loving and wonderful role models who guided them every step of the way from primary school – where they sometimes copied each other’s work -- to university.

Read more: These twins were born from two separate wombs

“We have always had the same interests, so it seemed very natural to study the same thing at university,” Danielle says. “Our mom told us about the HMS course [which she’d read about in a newspaper) and both of us became interested in studying it.”


So, what do the people they help at the Institute call them? “Just ‘The Twins’,” they say with a laugh. But they don’t find it insulting people can’t tell them apart and say they still enjoy the unique bond only twin siblings can have.

TWINS In New York (2016)

“We always support each other, are best friends and have common interests -- and it's fun being able to go somewhere and enjoy doing something with someone who experiences it the same way I do,” Tracey says. “And we always have someone to trust in . . ”

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