Sitting in a Pretoria, South Africa, courtroom every single day, just feet from the man who murdered her beautiful and smart 29-year-old daughter, Reeva, June Steenkamp is hoping to learn the real circumstances of the death.
“I look at Oscar [Pistorius] the whole time, to see how he is coping, how he is behaving. I’m obsessed with looking at him. It’s just instinctive. I can’t explain it,” said 67-year-old June.
She doesn’t have to explain a thing. Any mother understands what is motivating June. Losing a daughter is the most horrific thing that can happen to a woman. “I think he has to see me, the mother, the person who gave birth to her, that he’s taken that away,” June said. “That’s what I want to see, that’s why I want to look in his face and he must look in mine. He must see now that I am there for justice for Reeva, no matter what happened, and the truth, obviously, which we don’t know we’ll ever get. But I hope for that.”
June has seen countless photos of the bloody crime scene and her daughter’s catastrophic head wound. She’s watched Oscar’s hysterical crying and retching. Through it all, one question haunts her, she says. Is he acting? Did he indeed think an intruder was in his bathroom, as he’s repeatedly claimed, or did he know it was Reeva, go into a rage and kill her?
June says Reeva told her she and Oscar were arguing frequently in the weeks before her death, and that she was afraid of being with him. We’ve read e-mail exchanges confirming this. We’ve heard Oscar was a jealous, hot-tempered man and once even berated Reeva for talking to another man for too long. If I were June, I couldn’t help but think he was guilty.
June is a special woman. “I’ve lost everything that’s important to me,” she said, “but, still, I can forgive. I’m being strong for Reeva. I have to be there. It’s hard for me to do it, but I’m representing my child. I’m there for her, as much as it’s hell for me, I know that I have to be there. I’m not a person who wants to punish him. I want my daughter back, but it’s never going to happen.”
Since their daughter’s murder, the Steenkamp’s have moved to a quiet village, where June opened a pub and her husband, Barry, is training horses.
For her fortitude, June Steenkamp is FOF Woman of the Week. We hope she finds the peace she deserves.