Saturday, 22 November 2014

What About Reeva?

Opinion piece on why how the media have forgotten about Reeva Steenkamp.

On the 21st October Judge Thokoisile Masipa gave Oscar Pistorius just five years in prison for the culpable homicide of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

That evening he began his sentence in Kgosi Mampuru II prison in Pretoria, of what his defence lawyers believe will actually be ten months served in prison with the remainder carried out under house arrest.

Reactions to the sentencing have been interesting. Though Reeva’s parents June and Barry Steenkamp believe that ‘justice has been served’, keeping in mind they were commenting on the five year sentence and not just the probable ten months of prison, Simon Jenkins of The Guardian is of the opinion that Pistorius should not be going to jail at all and wrote that the athlete’s life had already been ‘ruined’.

While some people think that Pistorius should have gained more than a five year sentence, the Prosecution demanded a minimum of ten years, Jenkins argues that the blade-runner has suffered enough from the trial and that his reputation is now damaged; he wrote that ‘Imprisonment is brutalism, reflecting society’s inability to police anti-social acts’.

However, nowhere in his article is there any reference to gaining justice for Reeva’s death, nor mention of the brutalism that Pistorius showed when he shot his girlfriend three times in the head on Valentines Day 2013.

Instead the portrayal of Pistorius as a ‘broken man’ by his defence team is what has won the world’s mind and seeped into the media; it was a psychologist that treated Pistorius who first described him as a ‘broken man’ and a social worker that urged he should get just house arrest and undertake community service.

Furthermore, his lawyer, Mr Roux, said that Oscar ‘is not only broke but he is broken’; poor Pistorius has suffered greatly from the death of his girlfriend and has not been able to work since his trial has taken place.

Not only is he a fallen hero, but a South African national icon with no cash in his pocket.

Pistorius’ defence also argued that the athlete should not get imprisonment because he is a first time offender with a disability who would be subject to much hardship in prison. Surely a man that has entered able-bodied athletic competitions and won gold cannot use a disability as an excuse?

Whatever the case, his defence team seem to have formed a picture of him as a soul suffering greatly under the stress of his trial; his breaking down in court and getting sick into buckets have further secured this image in the public’s mind.

It seems that everyone has overlooked the old Oscar Pistorius, portrayed days after the death of Reeva Steenkamp by newspapers around the world, nearly one year and nine months ago, as Oscar Pistorius the ‘gun-lover’, and Oscar Pistorius the ‘jealous boyfriend’.

Now he will be remembered as Oscar Pistorius ‘the one that got away’.

Those with the same opinion as Simon Jenkins have forgotten who the real victim of this case is. After serving just ten months in prison,  Pistorius will probably be taking part in the 2016 Olympics, if eligible.

 With a tell-tale book on the cards for the athlete, it is evident that not only has life carried on but as time has passed the memory of Reeva has faded.

(Photo Courtesy of

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Top Sites