Dad nurses his grief alone in his garage

Reeva Steenkamp’s parents say they will need a “long, long time to reconcile with a lot of things and issues” surrounding their beloved daughter’s death.

Briefing reporters outside their home in Seaview, Port Elizabeth, on Friday, Steenkamp’s emotional uncle Michael said she will be laid to rest after a private memorial service on Tuesday, which they expected only close friends and family to attend.

He also thanked the media for reporting “sensitively” about his niece, concentrating also on her achievements and who she was.

“You have actually mentioned Reeva more in the situation than in the crisis with Oscar, and I would like to leave it like that, and not to mention the other side at this stage,” the bewildered-looking man said.

He said an autopsy was conducted on her body on Friday morning.

“They had to wait for the forensic doctors to come in... I don’t know what the results of that forensic report is, I don’t want to know right now. So that means I don’t have to tell my brother anything,” he said.

Asked if Reeva, a law graduate, was happy in her relationship with boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, who has been charged with her murder, Steenkamp paused a little before saying: “Yes. She was happy.”

Steenkamp said Reeva’s parents wanted closure and answers and they trusted that through the country’s justice system “the answer would come out”.

Earlier in the day, in the garden of the family home, Reeva’s father sat quietly in an old garage.

Wearing a blue long-sleeved shirt and khaki pants, he smoked one cigarette after another. He looked deep in thought and kept scratching his head.

There was little activity in the garden on Friday in contrast with what was going on in the street, where a large contingent of journalists awaited word from the family.

Just after 1pm, a driver from a local florist delivered a bouquet which was signed for by Reeva’s father at the gate.

Neighbours looked on curiously, some viewing the crowd of journalists, who had been camped outside since the fatal shooting on Thursday, with hostility.

Most neighbours did not want to comment, saying they hardly knew Reeva.

But one, who refused to reveal her name, said: “All I know about Reeva is that she had beautiful eyes. She was such a lovely kid.”

Another said Reeva’s family kept to themselves and he hadn’t even known they lived in the suburb.

“You never even knew that they were here. I never saw her here. I was shocked to learn she came from here,” he said.

Reeva’s former school principal, Greg Stokell at St Dominic’s Priory where she matriculated in 2001, described her as a very vibrant, friendly and diligent student.

“She set high goals for herself and achieved recognition for her pleasing academic results and participation in the sports arena... She converted opportunities into success,” said Stokell.

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