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Anorak | June Steenkamp’s Book Washes Away The Rivers Of Bilge Around Reeva’s Killing And Oscar Pistorius’ Crime

June Steenkamp’s Book Washes Away The Rivers Of Bilge Around Reeva’s Killing And Oscar Pistorius’ Crime

by | 27th, October 2014

South Africa Pistorius Trial

 

WHEN Reeva Steekamp was shot dead by her famous lover, Oscar Pistorius, the media went into overdrive. Today, the Times features an extract when June Steenkamp’s book, Reeva: A Mother’s Story

The beginning of the nightmare

Dromedaris Road, Seaview, Port Elizabeth. We are up and about before dawn. Barry sets off for the stables at Arlington Racecourse to prepare his horses for their morning exercise. I potter out to the overzealous dogs — and little Moby Dick, Reeva’s dachshund — to give them their breakfast. The sun rises just before 6am. I’m preoccupied with thoughts about the day ahead, about supervising progress at the Barking Spider, a pub we’re building at the Greenbushes Hotel on the Old Cape Road, when my mobile phone rings.

A voice introduces himself as Detective Hilton Botha.

“Hello, is that June Steenkamp?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have a daughter, Reeva?”

“Yes.”

“There has been a terrible accident.”

“What kind of accident?”

“Your daughter has been shot.”

Pause.

“You’d better tell me RIGHT NOW if she’s dead or alive.”

“I’m sorry. I’m afraid she has passed on.”

He says he thinks it looks like an “open-and-shut” case. “There were only two people present — your daughter and Oscar with the gun.”

I’ve heard enough. I’m hysterical, screaming, sobbing uncontrollably. This cannot be true.

Pain follows. And a TV show trial. And a crime that became a totem of the cause hungry. Take this from CNN: “The Pistorius case and the plague of violence against women.”
On the same day that thousands of women stood up to participate in One Billion Rising, billed as the largest mass action to stop violence against women and girls, the sad news came from South Africa that yet another woman was killed.
And that was before we know any of the facts.
You can understand why June Steenkamp wants to tell her side of the story and reclaim her daughter as an individual and no-one’s pet project or more re-educator.
Not that Pistorius faired much better. In the Guardian, Pistorius’ shooting was a sign that “love of guns and fast cars [speaks to] South Africa’s macho culture”. Pistorius was guilty of being part of a “culture of masculinity”. To say nothing of South Africa’s racism, desperation, rich elite and poverty, which it didn’t. The gun killed. If the cause fits your chosen narrative, bang the drum. Reeva and Oscar were products of the “seemingly endless cycle of male violence that did not end with Apartheid”. And, get this: “‘[C]asual everyday social violence… the defining feature of Apartheid…has endured and thrived in the two decades since.”
I thought the defining features of Apartheid were racism, exploitation and an undemocratic State. But that can’t slot that into the Pistorius story because Reeva was stubbornly blonde.
The Independent said Pistorius represented “a section of society that is violent, self-obsessed and contemptuous of the law. It was a lawlessness that represents a certain kind of South African impulse, not just an Afrikaner impulse.” Channel 4 said that Pistorius had whipped out a gun in a restaurant and not been arrested as a white male “you can disrespect the law and the law itself will look the other way with nothing more than a wink and a nod”.
But the black judge would sentence the white criminal. South Africa was ok.
Only, in 2012, the ANC-led government oversaw the slaughter of 34 striking miners at Marikana. That day the poccie arrived tooled up and in a convoy that featured four mortuary vans. The miners had no guns. The State had them all. That was murder of the working-class blacks. Plus ca change in South Africa.

On ESPN, you could learn that Pistorius killed because he was a top star who had become by turn of praise and celebrity one of any “madmen and violent idiots”.

So. Good for June Steenkamp to give her story of loss and suffering. If it goes some way to demolishing the river of balls that swamped her daughter and Oscar Pistorius, then good.



Posted: 27th, October 2014 | In: Reviews Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink