Reeva Steenkamp’s mother continues fight against gender-based violence

June Steenkamp, centre, mother of Reeva Steenkamp who was murdered by Paralympian Oscar Pistorius in 2013, hands out care packs to girls at Altona Primary School in Greenbushes on Friday. With her are Ovayo Sijadu, left, and Aqama Ntoba, both 13
June Steenkamp, centre, mother of Reeva Steenkamp who was murdered by Paralympian Oscar Pistorius in 2013, hands out care packs to girls at Altona Primary School in Greenbushes on Friday. With her are Ovayo Sijadu, left, and Aqama Ntoba, both 13
Image: WERNER HILLS

Valentine’s day marked the seventh anniversary of the death of former Port Elizabeth model Reeva Steenkamp, whose life was taken by her boyfriend, Paralympian athlete Oscar Pistorius, in 2013.

Despite this tragedy, members of the Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp Foundation were out in full force at Altona Primary School in Greenbushes yesterday to hand out 100 care packs for female pupils.

The packs, sponsored by an all-women team at the Bridge shopping centre, contained hygiene essentials for the girls.

The foundation was established to continue the work Reeva herself had begun in a fight against gender-based violence.

It is known that, on the day of her death, she was scheduled to  speak to young children about the support and help  available to those experiencing abuse, much as her mother, June, did on Friday.

Steenkamp was soft-spoken and gentle as she stood at the podium.

“I worry about you, all of you, and what’s going to happen in your life.

“It’s so important that we reach out to young people, to encourage you to love and show others that you care.”

When asked about the sort of emotions she felt  on this fateful day, Steenkamp said: “Valentine’s day has always been a dark day for us, but today is the first time I have actually enjoyed it.

“This morning my husband and I went to the beach and prayed over her [Reeva].

“Doing this sort of work feels like her soul can finally rest.”

While Steenkamp has hopes the foundation in her daughter’s name will continue to educate and support young girls from all backgrounds against gender-based violence, she is realistic about the narrative that prevents victims from seeking help.

She said real progress could only be made when people were willing to break down the barriers that prevented them from loving each other with care and kindness.

“That is what Reeva stood for. That is the sort of world she wanted to live in,” Steenkamp said.

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