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Sun Nov 23 16:37:13 SAST 2014

Reeva's mom: My baby loved like no one else

GRAEME HOSKEN | 18 February, 2013 00:25

"Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this? What for?"

This is the anguish of June Steenkamp, who is grappling with the pain of losing her daughter, 29-year-old model and lawyer Reeva.

In an emotional telephone interview from her Seaview, Port Elizabeth, home yesterday, Steenkamp spoke for the first time about her daughter's killing.

Reeva was allegedly shot dead by her boyfriend, athletics superstar Oscar Pistorius, on StValentine's Day, at his R4-million home at Silver Woods Country Estate, Pretoria.

Pistorius, 26, has been in police custody since the killing and faces a charge of murder, an allegation he has strongly denied.

Speaking about the love her murdered daughter had for South Africa and its citizens, Steenkamp, battling her emotions, said: "She loved like no one else could love.

"She had so much of herself to give and now all of it is gone. Just like that, she is gone ... In the blink of an eye and a single breath, the most beautiful person who ever lived is no longer here.

"All we have is this horrendous death to deal with ... to get to grips with. All we want are answers ... answers as to why this had to happen, why our beautiful daughter had to die like this."

The state intends to charge Pistorius - who has not yet been asked to plead in court - with premeditated murder.

According to initial reports, Pistorius told the police that he opened fire after being woken by a noise in the early hours of Thursday morning, mistaking his girlfriend for an intruder.

Pistorius's father, Henke, said the family was aware of the reality that they and their son were facing.

Lashing out at the way South Africans were "destroying" a "national icon", Pistorius, said: "There is something fundamentally wrong with our society. We build people up into heroes, who overcome immense challenges, only to take great glee in breaking them down.

"I want to say this: We are realists, not fools. This is not going to be easy but Oscar is strong beyond his years."

Reeva Steenkamp will be buried tomorrow - the day Pistorius appears before Pretoria chief magistrate Desmond Nair for the start of his two-day bail application.

Steenkamp described her daughter's love for South Africa.

"She was so proud of being a South African ... She loved this country and all its people ... This was the only place she called home," she said.

Steenkamp's father, Barry, told the UK's the Daily Mail website that, though he bore the athlete no animosity, he was struggling "to find some reason why this happened to our lovely daughter".

Family spokesman Mike Steenkamp said the family would release a media statement after the funeral.

"For now, we are just focusing on getting over the funeral ... on getting this part of the difficult journey behind us.

"We're trying not to think about Oscar or the court appearance. We have deliberately not watched TV or listened to the radio. We just don't want to think about it. We want to blank it all out and focus for now on the here and now," he said.

Asked about their hopes for the court case, Steenkamp said whatever the outcome, nothing would "bring back our Reeva".

"The issue is not about the outcome. The outcome will be whatever it is meant to be. We're confident that justice will follow its course."

He said the outpouring of love by South Africans had strengthened the family throughout the ordeal.

"It is simply overwhelming. Just when you think South Africa is going through a speed wobble, out of nowhere comes this overwhelming amount of support from people we don't even know.

"It's a true tribute to Reeva and the amount of love she had for people ... it is a testament to her character."

Steenkamp's flatmate, Gina Myers, said: "Her faith in the world, love for everyone and everything, and positive outlook is what made many people live.

"There is not a single word that can describe how amazing she was. The energy with which she loved, whether it was in a friendship or relationship, was incredible. She loved loving."

Asked about Reeva's relationship with Pistorius, Myers refused comment.

"All I want are answers. That is what all of us, including both families, want. We want the truth to come out ... everyone to be honest about what happened," she said.

The Sunday Times reported yesterday that Pistorius had hired a heavyweight legal team, policing experts, a top pathologist and spin doctor to handle his case.

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