Reeva, Oscar, Hopes & Tears

I have tried so hard to remain impassive about the world’s biggest story right now.  I’ve tried to not judge, not assume, not guesstimate whether he is guilty or not.  But it’s getting harder, guys.  Yesterday morning I had tears running down my cheeks as the radio announced Oscar was suspected in accidentally killing his girlfriend as she snuck into his home to surprise him for Valentines Day.  The tragedy!  The horror!  The unjust bad luck of it all!  

At mid-morning, it was assumed that Oscar shot out of fear of his house being broken into.  How horrid, he accidentally kills his loved one thinking she is a criminal.

By lunchtime, it had emerged that the SAPS vehemently deny stating there was a case of mistaken identity.  They denied releasing the information that Reeva, the now deceased girlfriend of Oscar Pistorius, was mistakenly killed under assumption of a house break-in.  So there goes that theory.  No one knows who started the rumour.

Late afternoon, it’s clear Oscar has been arrested on the suspicion of murder.

By 10am the following morning, this morning to be exact, the court proceedings are under way and I obsessively watch the timelines of those sitting in the court room, Barry Bateman’s timeline proves to be riveting.  Oscar walks into the courtroom composed wearing a dark suit and tie.  He gets called to the bench and stares at the floor.  Oscar’s family is asked to purchase the accused some food, Oscar orders a toasted sandwich.  The magistrate arrives, the hearing begins and tweet-by-tweet, I become more and more solemn here in my little office in the heart of Johannesburg North.

The defence pleads for a police station stay instead of a prison while the case is postponed until Tuesday.  This will give both parties time for more investigation and conferencing.  I think this is a good thing, better to be sure, better to investigate properly, better to know the case inside out, better to have time to think.  In my heart, I wish that this time would make it all go away.

Because never mind Oscar.  Never mind the media circus.  Somebody’s child died here.  Somebody’s best friend.  Somebody’s colleague, role model, somebody beautiful and reportedly wonderful.  A life was taken and a family has been devastated.  Reeva’s family is broken, to be exact.  Reeva Steenkamp.  I say her name as often as I can because it’s so very easy to get caught up in the media circus of Oscar, Reeva is the important name to remember here.  Reeva is the victim, and it’s hard to remember that.

By 12:45pm today, it is clear that the State intends to prosecute for premeditated murder.  MURDER.

Still, my heart wants to believe there is a clear reason and explanation somewhere.  Because he’s a hero, he is our country’s one good thing next to Madiba.  He is a South African legend, a hope, a hero to so many people I know, and inspiration to the world.  No one wants that dream to die.  No one wants to tell the little children that the Olympic man with no legs is a bad man.  We want to believe he is innocent.  And that’s the crux of my post today.

I’ve never seen such a world wide media story be so complex.  Reeva died and along with her goals, ambitions and dreams, a country’s hope has come to an end.

You know what’s so sad? I’ve never seen this country want the accused to be so badly found innocent.

Hopes and dreams are dashed, a hero falls.  Reeva dies and no one knows why or how or what caused it or any of the facts.

And for some reason, this is what’s been clouding my mind for the last 24 hours.  Because as much as my heart wants to believe in innocence and not assuming or making judgements, the female-against-violence activist in me wants to scream out for the victim’s sake.

Because after all, guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.

And so we wait until Tuesday for more information.




  1. Iks says:

    So true, Sheena, mirrors my feelings and hopes and experience for the past day exactly. So sad by all of this.

  2. Alida Ryder says:

    I’m so with you. I am devastated for Oscar’s family and friends (and for him but if it is indeed murder, he deserves no sympathy) but above everything I am devastated for Reeva’s parents. Her siblings. Her friends. The people who were probably so proud of their gorgeous daughter and the fact that she was at the prime of her life. Probably so chuffed that she was the girlfriend of an Olympian. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. They, and Oscar’s family, are the ones I keep in my thoughts and prayers.

  3. Goose says:

    I’m a world away and all I see is shocked Londoners reading sensationalist headlines about the ‘Blade Gunner’. It makes me sick and sad. And so very far away.

    I don’t think I’ve ever felt so conflicted about a news story, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so desperate to believe that somehow this was all just a big mistake. And yet I can’t stop that creeping feeling of betrayal you get when a hero falls.

    In a country that desperately needs the few heroes we have, every one of them that are proved to have clay feet is a blow to us. And every act of violence against women adds another deep gash in our psyche.

    Please, let this all just be a big mistake. Please.

  4. Walter Pike says:

    Sheena. I feel deeply angry about this. Angry because I see an abusive man trying to dominate a smart woman by force. The true tragedy will be if this is only a Oscar Pistorius issue – this issue affects our entire society as much as the Anene Booysen obscenity. If it is isolated as an incident instead of addressing the sickness in our society that allowed this to happen then Reeva would have died in vain.

  5. Melanie Chisnall says:

    You’ve said what I’ve been feeling since yesterday. I’ve had to stop myself from getting all over Twitter along with everyone else and jumping to conclusions. I will say this – when I first heard about it, my first questions were: Why did he shoot four times if it was by accident? Surely he must have heard screaming and then stopped after the first or second shot? Why would someone surprise their loved one at 4am in the morning. Seems a bit odd to me. Anyway, it’s not my place to judge. This is horrific, and like you I am also hoping against all odds that he is innocent, because truly, it’s just too sick and twisted if he wasn’t. He is an international hero. I feel for Reeva’s family, and I hope that whatever happens, justice is served. Good post!

  6. Nicole says:

    It’s shocking. I was speecless when I heard the news. See, I’m on leave at the moment and haven’t been keeping up with the news, my friend who is a State Prosecuter in Pretoria SMS’d me yesterday about it.

    I’m just, sad, about it. Just sad. And so sad for Reeva’s family.

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