Letters to SOOTHE Oscar
Pistorius is given renewed messages of support, while Reeva’s family remembers her birthday
Oscar Pistorius’ family is collecting letters of support from his friends to encourage him in prison.
After his correctional supervision release was dramatically halted by Justice Minister Michael Masutha two days before his intended release this past Friday, one of his friends, paraplegic weightlifter Dewald Reynders, said the family had asked people for a number of messages of encouragement for him.
Reynders said that although he had not been to see Oscar in jail, Pistorius’ family spokesperson, Anneliese Burgess, had asked him and a number of other friends to send messages to him.
“The Oscar everyone talks about is not the Oscar I know,” said Reynders. “He is a good person. I’ve seen what he’s done for people. And he was always so determined and disciplined.”
This week, the family of Pistorius’ slain girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, celebrated her birthday with candles and her favourite treat, banana bread. Steenkamp would have turned 32 on Wednesday. In Cape Town, Steenkamp’s cousin Kim Martin lit candles with her husband, Dion. They brought out balloons and streamers to remember her birthday.
Kim shared a message to Reeva online, saying: “Happy birthday cuzzie, not a day goes by that we don’t think about you. Your beauty and smile, your confidence, your love for fairness and family. You made each day brighter.
“I just know that you are arranging an awesome tea party in heaven.”
Family members insist that their future focus will be on keeping Reeva’s memory alive, and not thinking or speaking about Pistorius.
However, Dion told City Press that they welcomed the justice ministry’s sudden decision to halt Pistorius’ release. “Certainly, we are happy,” he said. “Ten months seems totally inappropriate. And to be released in women’s month?”
Birthday wishes for Reeva poured in on Facebook: “I can’t believe it’s been two and a half years already,” wrote another family member. “You live on in our hearts and you are with us at every family function. Always and forever. See you in Heaven!”
Reeva’s death continues to haunt her family, who still insist there is more to what happened that Valentine’s Day in 2013.
“Why would her jeans be crumpled under the bed?” asked Dion. “Reeva was a neat freak. Her clothes were always neatly folded before she went to sleep.” Meanwhile, the house in which their daughter was killed has been standing empty for months because no one wants to live in it.
Louwtjie Louwrens, who bought the house from Pistorius, says he can’t understand why prospective tenants might be scared off by the house’s history.
Louwrens says Christo Menelaou – Oscar’s friend who originally rented the house – fixed it up nicely. It was badly neglected when Louwrens bought it, because it had been empty for 18 months after Pistorius moved in with his uncle before and during his murder trial.
The water damage was repaired, along with the swimming pool and Jacuzzi, and the house was painted both inside and out. A new door was installed in the space where the one through which Pistorius fired the fatal shots used to hang.
Louwrens says: “It’s not just a house any more; it’s a home. We weren’t scared to spend – we bought only the best. “But we have a problem now,” he admitted. After Menelaou moved out of the house four months ago, Louwrens struggled to find a new tenant. Prospective ones are understood to come for viewings, but later withdraw their interest.
“The agent may not conceal the truth about the place. If potential tenants ask questions about the house’s past, they deserve truthful answers. But then they are put off.”
He has been left scratching his head. When he bought the house, its past did not trouble him. “It wasn’t about what happened there; I saw it as a safe place for my family. To me, that was very important. We trust we will soon find a tenant who will see it in the same way.”