Reeva Steenkamp

South African model and murder victim

  • Ice Model Management[1]
  • Publicist: Sarit Tomlinson (Capacity Relations)[2]

Reeva Rebecca Steenkamp (Afrikaans: [ˈstiəŋkamp]; 19 August 1983 – 14 February 2013) was a South African model and paralegal. She modelled for FHM magazine and was the first face of Avon cosmetics in South Africa. Steenkamp once worked as the live roaming presenter for FashionTV in South Africa and starred in television advertisements for Toyota Land Cruiser, Clover Industries, Redds and Aldor Pin Pop. She was a celebrity contestant on the BBC Lifestyle show Baking Made Easy in 2012 and on Tropika Island of Treasure season 5 which aired on SABC 3 in February 2013.

On Valentine's Day 2013, Steenkamp was shot dead by her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, at his home in Pretoria. He stated that he thought Steenkamp was an intruder hiding in the bathroom. Pistorius was found guilty of culpable homicide at a first trial, and was sentenced to five years in prison. On 3 December 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa overturned this conviction and instead convicted Pistorius of murder. He was sentenced to six years in prison, which was later increased to 13 years and 5 months by the Court of Appeal.

Early life

Steenkamp was born in Cape Town to parents Barry Steenkamp, a horse trainer, and his second wife, June (née Marshall, previously Cowburn), who was born in Blackburn, England.[3][4][5] She had two older half-siblings from her father and mother's respective previous marriages, Adam Steenkamp and Simone Cowburn.[6][7][8][9][10] The family later moved to Port Elizabeth, where she attended St Dominic's Priory School.[5][11] After school she studied law at the University of Port Elizabeth, which became a part of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Laws degree in 2005.[11]


After university, Steenkamp worked as a paralegal and as a model.[12] She applied to the bar in late 2011[11] and hoped to be a qualified legal advocate by the age of 30.[13]


Steenkamp began modelling at the age of 14. She was a finalist in the Weekend Post Faces of the Future competition in 2004 and in the Herald Miss Port Elizabeth contest in 2005.[11] She appeared in FHM magazine as a model and cover girl[14][15] and was the first face of Avon cosmetics in South Africa.[16] She also modeled for the jewelry company Sivana Diamonds.[17]

She was ranked #40 in the FHM 100 Sexiest Women in the World poll of South African FHM readers in 2011 and #45 in 2012.[15][18][19] Her style icon was Marc Jacobs.[20] She was a celebrity face of the Spirit Day anti-bullying campaign in 2012.[21]


Steenkamp once worked as the live roaming presenter for FashionTV in South Africa.[22] She starred in television advertisements for a range of products, including Toyota Land Cruiser, Clover "The One", Redds and Aldor Pin Pop.[18] She featured as a celebrity contestant on the BBC Lifestyle show Baking Made Easy in 2012.[23]

At the time of her death, Steenkamp was signed up to appear on season five of the reality TV program Tropika Island of Treasure and had filmed the series episodes on location in Jamaica.[22][24] The screening of the series began airing as scheduled on 16 February 2013, two days after her death.[25][26] The first episode of the series was dedicated to Steenkamp and was preceded by a video tribute to her.[27][28]

Personal life

Steenkamp was a keen horse rider until she broke her back in a fall in her early 20s and had to learn to walk again.[9] On the South African celebrity circuit, she was a regular A-list guest at red carpet events and a noted socialite on the Johannesburg party scene.[29][30][31]

Steenkamp had been dating Oscar Pistorius, a South African Olympic and Paralympic runner, since November 2012.[32] She had previously dated Springbok rugby player Francois Hougaard.[33]

Murder and trial

On Valentine's Day 2013, Steenkamp's boyfriend Oscar Pistorius fired four shots through the door of a locked bathroom cubicle in his Pretoria home, three of which struck Steenkamp who was on the other side. Immediately following this, Pistorius proceeded to break down the bathroom door with a cricket bat to reach Steenkamp. He attempted to render emergency medical assistance and called for help. One of the first responders to the scene was a neighbor, doctor Johan Stipp, who did a jaw-lift-maneuver on Steenkamp in an attempt to open her airway. In his analysis of the situation he noted that she had no peripheral pulse, showed no sign of breathing-movements, and that her pupils were fixed, dilated. It was apparent that she had been mortally wounded.[34]

Her body was cremated at Victoria Park crematorium in Port Elizabeth on 19 February 2013 and the service was conducted by Pastor Kurt Sutton of the Oasis Family Church in Port Elizabeth.[35] Pistorius was arrested and charged with murder.[24][36] Pistorius admitted that he shot Steenkamp, but said he believed he was shooting an intruder.[37] On 12 September 2014, he was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of culpable homicide in the case.[38] On 21 October 2014, he was sentenced to five years in jail, but only served 10 months.[39] In December 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeals overturned the culpable homicide verdict and found Pistorius guilty of murder. On 6 July 2016, Judge Masipa sentenced Pistorius to six years in prison for murder, despite South Africa carrying a minimum sentence of 15 years for this offence.[citation needed]

On 24 November 2017, the Court of Appeal extended Oscar Pistorius's jail term to 13 years and five months with the possibility of parole from 2023.[40]

Media-coverage after death

Steenkamp and Anene Booysen, both young South African women killed in 2013, were named SA Persons of the year 2013 by the Daily Maverick.[41]

In February 2014, eNCA broadcast a half-hour documentary special about Steenkamp's life titled Reeva: The Model You Thought You Knew.[42]

On 12 September 2014, SABC 3 broadcast an episode of Special Assignment titled Oscar Pistorius: The Verdict.[citation needed]


  1. ^ a b c d "Reeva Steenkamp Portfolio". Ice Model Management. Archived from the original on 28 February 2013. Retrieved 27 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Reeva Steenkamp: Oscar Pistorius's girlfriend". BBC News Africa. 14 February 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2013.
  3. ^ "Two years on – Blackburn-born June Steenkamp pays tributes to daughter Reeva..." Lancashire Telegraph. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2015.
  4. ^ "Oscar Pistorius denied parole from prison decade after murdering girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp". 31 March 2023.
  5. ^ a b "Reeva Steenkamp: The Girl Behind The Name". Sky News. 28 February 2014. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  6. ^ Duffin, Claire (16 February 2013). "Oscar Pistorius: Reeva Steenkamp's brother flies to South Africa to comfort family". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  7. ^ Newling, Dan (23 February 2013). "Oscar Pistorius must 'live with his conscience', says Reeva Steenkamp's father". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  8. ^ "Reeva Steenkamp 1 year on: Still 'the queen of our hearts'".
  9. ^ a b Huisman, Biénne (9 February 2014). "Reeva Steenkamp 1 year on: still 'the queen of our hearts'". City Press. South Africa. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2014.
  10. ^ Molloy, Antonia (14 April 2014). "Oscar Pistorius trial: Paralympian 'is a disgusting liar', says Reeva Steenkamp's sister Simone Steenkamp". The Independent. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d de Jager, Shaanaaz (14 September 2012). "PE beauty vies for R1-million prize in TV show". The Herald – Weekend Post. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  12. ^ Jamie Lewis (15 February 2013). "Reeva Steenkamp: Glamour model, law graduate, and girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius". The Independent. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  13. ^ Urban sista (30 October 2012). "Fashion advocate: Reeva Steenkamp". LEGiTimate fashion. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  14. ^ "Ogling a dream in Jamaica". The Mercury (Durban). 23 July 2012.
  15. ^ a b "Meet the schlebs and schmos on TIOT5". TVSA. 1 February 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2013.
  16. ^ Moore, Malcolm (14 February 2013). "Oscar Pistorius murder charge: Reeva Steenkamp profile". The Telegraph. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Sivana Diamonds – Reeva Steenkamp". Jason Crouse Photography. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  18. ^ a b Ndamase, Mkhululi (30 November 2011). "Bay model on cover of lad mag". The Herald (Port Elizabeth).
  19. ^ "FHM 100 Sexiest Issue: Reeva Steenkamp (No. 45)". FHM. 22 June 2012. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  20. ^ "That ring". Sunday Times (Johannesburg). 12 August 2012.
  21. ^ Ndlovu, Andile (18 October 2012). "Standing up to bullies". The Times (Johannesburg). Archived from the original on 4 March 2014. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  22. ^ a b "Reeva Steenkamp Tropika Island of Treasure 5". Tropika. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  23. ^ Makhubele, Mantombi (26 August 2012). "If you want a decent cake don't ask these half-baked celebs". Sunday Times (Johannesburg).
  24. ^ a b Alexandra Topping and agencies (14 February 2013). "Oscar Pistorius charged with murder after girlfriend shot dead". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  25. ^ "Stimulii media statement: Tropika Island of Treasure 5". Archived from the original on 7 April 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  26. ^ "SABC1 statement on Reeva Steenkamp". 15 February 2013. Archived from the original on 3 May 2014. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
  27. ^ Davis, Rebecca (18 February 2013). "Tropika Island of Treasure: Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 18 February 2013.
  28. ^ Smith, David (16 February 2013). "Oscar Pistorius murder charge: family breaks silence". The Observer. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  29. ^ Msimango, Ziphezinhle (23 December 2012). "They stole the scene: The A-list". Sunday Times. Johannesburg.
  30. ^ "Taboo hosts launch of 2013 Cosmopolitan Sexiest Men Calender". Media Update. 4 February 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2020.
  31. ^ "The Ultimate Redd Door Experience, a night that opened up a thousand imaginations". The Marketing Site. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  32. ^ Ndebele, Gabisile (24 December 2012). "Celeb scandals that rocked 2012". News24. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  33. ^ "Did SMS cause Oscar and Reeva fight?". News24. 18 February 2013. Retrieved 19 February 2013.
  34. ^ "Oscar Pistorius trial: doctor describes finding body of Reeva Steenkamp". The Guardian. 6 March 2014. Retrieved 23 November 2021.
  35. ^ "Reeva Steenkamp funeral: Mourners call for Oscar Pistorius to be punished". The Guardian. Reuters. 19 February 2013. Retrieved 20 February 2013.
  36. ^ Polgreen, Lydia (14 February 2013). "A Nation Reels as a Star Runner Is Charged in Girlfriend's Death". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 February 2013.
  37. ^ "Pistorius pleads not guilty on day one of murder trial". Business Day. South Africa. 3 March 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  38. ^ Germaner, Shain (12 September 2014). "Oscar: the verdict is in". The Star. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  39. ^ "Oscar Pistorius jailed for five years – sport afforded no protection against his tragic fallibilities". The Daily Telegraph. 21 October 2014. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  40. ^ "Pistorius jail term more than doubled". BBC News. 24 November 2017. Retrieved 24 November 2017.
  41. ^ Davis, Rebecca (13 December 2013). "Daily Maverick's SA Person(s) of the year 2013: Anene Booysen and Reeva Steenkamp". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 13 December 2013.
  42. ^ Ferreira, Thinus (13 February 2014). "Oscar Pistorius murder trial will be SA's 'OJ Simpson'". News24. Retrieved 14 February 2014.

Further reading

  • Steenkamp, June (2014). Reeva : a mother's story. London: Sphere. ISBN 978-0-7515-5872-2.
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