‘It’s time to only think about our Reeva’

CityPress - - News - BIÉNNE HUIS­MAN bi­enne.huis­man@city­press.co.za

For our heal­ing, I don’t want to think about Os­car any more. All we want to think about now is Reeva

KIM MARTIN

“God bless” was Os­car Pis­to­rius’ part­ing shot as he left Kim and Dion Martin’s house in the Cape Town sub­urb of Sun­ning­dale in Jan­uary 2013.

This was the only time they met the new boyfriend of Kim’s 29-yearold cousin, model and law grad­u­ate, Reeva Steenkamp. A month later, he killed her. Pis­to­rius’ sen­tenc­ing – he could serve only 10 months in jail – sparked out­rage. But back in Sun­ning­dale, Kim and Dion Martin are sick and tired of hear­ing about Os­car.

While the Na­tional Prose­cut­ing Au­thor­ity de­cides whether or not to ap­peal, Kim, Dion and her three chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage – Ja­son, Gypsy and Rain – want to move on with their lives.

“I mean it was so hard to sit in court and hear Os­car por­trayed as the vic­tim,” says Kim.

“For our heal­ing, I don’t want to think about Os­car any more. All we want to think about now is Reeva.”

Kim tells how she sent phone mes­sages to Reeva after she died. “I felt so guilty, I sent her mes­sages: ‘I’m so sorry, Reevs, I couldn’t pro­tect you!’ No one de­serves to die like that.”

Their lounge is adorned with framed pho­tos of Reeva – 12 years younger than Kim – as a lit­tle girl with dark curls and later as a beau­ti­ful model.

This is the same house Reeva stayed in for 10 months while she kick-started her mod­el­ling ca­reer in 2011. She loved cook­ing but her ef­forts re­ceived mixed reviews. “No man, steamed chicken breasts and steamed vegetables all the time! Skinny model food, you know,” says Dion, laugh­ing.

They re­mem­ber Reeva host­ing a Valen­tine’s Day din­ner around a 10seater ta­ble dec­o­rated with minia­ture heart-em­bel­lished mugs at their home. Kim took the stand at the North Gaut­eng High Court on Wed­nes­day.

On­look­ers went quiet when, for the first time dur­ing the trial, the court­room was filled with mem­o­ries of Reeva the per­son, not Reeva the life­less body.

Kim says her court tes­ti­mony was a mir­a­cle, given that she’s not a good pub­lic speaker. And she strug­gles to find words to de­scribe state pros­e­cu­tor Ger­rie Nel, the Steenkamps’ hero. “He re­ally is the most amaz­ing man you could ever meet. Ger­rie isn’t into niceties. He doesn’t say any­thing to make you feel bet­ter. “He is just so fo­cused, and re­ally and truly, with all his be­ing, be­lieves in his case.”

While they were in Pre­to­ria, Kim and Dion stayed at a guest­house a block away from Arnold Pis­to­rius’ three-storey Waterk­loof man­sion where Os­car lived.

The ten­sion be­tween the fam­i­lies was pal­pa­ble in court dur­ing the 49-day trial.

Os­car’s sis­ter, Aimée, sparked a me­dia frenzy when she ap­proached Kim with a scrap of pa­per in the first week of the trial, in which hand-writ­ten con­do­lences were paid to June and Barry Steenkamp. “I called Aimée and said ‘we ap­pre­ci­ate it, but please just re­spect that it’s not the right time’. I said to her to best leave us alone un­til the case is done.

“I mean I felt very sorry for her. She must have been very ner­vous. She was trem­bling and cry­ing.”

Kim says she sensed Reeva was trou­bled in the days be­fore her death. “I thought it was pres­sure about her par­ents and their fi­nan­cial trou­ble.” Kim and Dion are con­vinced Reeva was about to break up with Pis­to­rius. The tragedy has brought Barry and June closer to­gether again: they were sep­a­rated at the time of Reeva’s death.

June will spearhead the open­ing of a cen­tre for abused women in mem­ory of Reeva in their home­town of Port El­iz­a­beth.

PHOTO: ADRIAN DE KOCK 4ROOMZ.COM

Kim Martin with daugh­ter Gypsy

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