Reeva Steenkamp's Death Highlights the Femicide Crisis in South Africa
Today marks six years since she was murdered by her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius. A plight shared by too many South African women.
It's been six years since South African model Reeva Steenkamp was murdered by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius. South Africans are taking some of their time on Valentine's Day to remember her life and reflect on the crisis of femicide and intimate partner violence in South Africa.
The Oscar Pistorius trial was probably South Africa's most explosive trial to date. There has been none like it since. The beloved gold medalist athlete, Oscar Pistorius, was charged with the murder of his girlfriend in an elaborate saga that many South Africans grappled to understand for months to come.
Pistorius alleged that he had mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder in his home and shot her multiple times. His version of events had multiple loopholes. He then went on to state that he was mentally unfit to stand trial. Every trick known in the book was exercised by his formidable defense lawyer, Advocate Barry Roux. Pistorius was initially found not guilty, a verdict that was appealed and consequently landed him behind bars for 13 years.
However, today is not about Pistorius. It is about Steenkamp and the life that was cut so short at the hands of someone close to her.
Steenkamp's story is unfortunately the daily reality of so many South African women. South Africa's femicide rate is fives times the global rate. Every four hours a woman is murdered in South Africa and half of these murders are at the hands of the women's partners.
And so when Valentine's Day in February or an entire women's month in August rolls around (purporting to care about women) South African women are under no illusions. They simply cannot afford to be.
Here are some messages remembering Steenkamp on social media.