The world is still in shock over the brutal death that occurred Thursday at the home of South African Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius. Friday morning, the double amputee wept uncontrollably in court as he was brought before a magistrates court regarding the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp. Pistorius will stay in jail over the weekend and charges against him will be determined by the court on Tuesday.
So, who was Steenkamp, the 29-year-old woman who had only been dating Pistorius, 26, since the fall? A look online and through accounts from friends and family paint the picture of a beautiful spirit who had a very promising life and career in front of her.
Steenkamp was born in Cape Town but grew up in Port Elizabeth, where she studied law at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University. She moved to Johannesburg after signing a modeling deal with Avon cosmetics. Friends and co-workers described her as “intelligent,” “funny,” “angelic,” “inspiring,” and “talented.” She was a working model who frequently posed for the South African version of men’s magazine FHM, and was once named one of their "100 Sexiest Women in the World." She appeared in many advertising campaigns, including brands such as Toyota and clothing company Zui.
A peek at the model’s Instagram page, active since June 2012, shows that Steenkamp was very social and had many hobbies. The page is loaded with glamorous modeling pictures of the blonde beauty, along with plenty of shots of her having fun with friends. There are pics of her having cocktails, trying on lingerie, and lots of shots of animals. In one picture, she’s seen shooting at a gun range.
The first photo on her Instagram featuring Pistorius was posted on January 3, 2013, and is a simple shot of him driving a car, with her likely taking the pic from the passenger seat. “The chauffeurs in Cape Town hey. Nice!” the image is captioned. Pistorius is featured in one other collage pic, where the two appear on a beach, arms around each other’s waists, with the caption, “Some of my favouite people.” (Meanwhile, there are no pictures of Steenkamp on Pistorius’ Instagram)
Britain’s Sky News spoke with Steenkamp's publicist Sarit Tomlinson, who described the model as "the sweetest human being" and "a talented and bright young girl." Tomlinson added that, from her perspective, the couple had a "healthy, fabulous relationship."
Steenkamp was also very active on Twitter, describing herself as “SA Model, Cover Girl, Tropika Island of Treasure Celeb Contestant, Law Graduate, Child of God.” She posted most recently on Wednesday about how excited she was for Valentine’s Day:"What do you have up your sleeve for your love tomorrow?"
On Twitter, Steenkamp was outspoken about the issue of abuse and violence against women. According to The Daily Mail, she was scheduled to make a speech to schoolchildren in Johannesburg just hours after she was killed. The subject? Her experience with abuse from a previous relationship. On Wednesday, she retweeted a friend’s suggestion to “wear black this coming Friday in support against #rape and woman abuse.”
Steenkamp was set to debut this Saturday on a South African reality show called “Tropika Island,” which had already taped its 10-episode fifth season in Jamaica. From a look at the show's website, it appears to be some sort of combination of “Survivor,” “Big Brother,” and “Real World/Road Rules Challenge.” The show posted a simple message at the top of their website regarding the tragedy: “We are deeply saddened and extend our condolences to Reeva’s family and friends.” It’s unclear if the series will still air.
As Reeva Steenkamp now rests in peace, hopefully her loved ones may be able to take solace in the fact that she believed in some sort of afterlife. On December 30, 2012, she tweeted the following in conversation with friend Francisca Biggs:
"I light a candle for each person I miss on Xmas eve and NYE and have a little chat to them. They hear us ;)"