14 February 2017

South Africa: Rose Petals On Port Elizabeth Beach for Reeva Steenkamp

For June and Barry Steenkamp, Valentine's Day is no longer a celebration of love - it is a day of sadness and sorrow.

They will be spending the fourth anniversary of their daughter Reeva's death the same way they have since 2014 - on a Port Elizabeth beach where they and their loved ones will scatter rose petals on the water.

The murdered model's cousin, Kim Martin, told News24 that February 14 will never have the same meaning for them as it had before.

"It has been four years, but it feels like yesterday for June and Barry. You never get over something like this."

In the early hours of February 14, 2013, Paralympian Oscar Pistorius shot Steenkamp four times through the locked door of the toilet in his Silver Woods Country Estate home. He claimed he thought there was an intruder behind the door about to emerge and harm him, and that Reeva was still in bed.

Judge Thokozile Masipa originally sentenced Pistorius to five years for culpable homicide. The Supreme Court of Appeal overturned his guilty verdict, and replaced it with a murder conviction.

In July last year, Masipa resentenced him and handed him a six-year jail term. She rejected the State's bid for leave to appeal the sentence, which it said was too lenient.

Foundation to protest at bail application

Martin, who is also the CEO of the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation, will be part of a group of women who will protest outside the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Tuesday against the bail application of Mzuvukile Poni.

He is accused of stabbing his wife, Vuyiseka Poni, to death in Westlake on January 2.

The case struck a chord with Martin. She believed it would be a fitting way to honour her cousin and the fight against violence.

"What happened to Reeva was a terrible thing, but she would have wanted to make a difference to women who need a voice," she said.

The foundation was launched on August 19 last year, which would have been Reeva's 33rd birthday.

The organisation is intended to help educate and empower women and children against abuse, Martin explained.

The foundation grants an annual bursary to a student studying family law.

June and Barry were hoping to develop a property they own into a safe house in Port Elizabeth, Martin said.

Reeva's parents were proud of their daughter's legacy and foundation, Martin said. She was sure Reeva would have felt the same.

"This is exactly what she would have wanted us to do."


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