Reeva Steenkamp picked up wrapping paper for a framed photograph of her and Oscar Pistorius on Wednesday. It was to be her Valentine’s gift to the world’s most famous Paralympian.
On Thursday she was due to spend Valentine’s Day speaking to school children at Sandown High.
It was going to be a motivational speech on how she had not just overcome the challenges of growing up poor and even breaking her back horse riding, but also escaping an abusive relationship.
In the notes for her speech, she was to have told the pupils: “I lost a lot of self-worth during my last year in Port Elizabeth before I moved to Jozi and it took some serious soul searching to remind myself of my value in the world.”
In fact it was to get away from a man she went out with that she moved to Johannesburg eight years ago.
In an interview with local celebrity website ZAlebs, conducted this week, she spoke of how she had to get a restraining order against one potential boyfriend.
They had had a single date, which went sour after he inveigled her to go to his house on the pretext of feeding his dogs. She discovered there were no dogs, and said there would be no second date either.
“He moved back home with his parents because ‘his house smelt of my perfume’. Psycho,” she said.
Valentine’s Day, she told ZAlebs, was important, even though many people thought it was a “cheesy money-making racket”.
It was important to tell people how you cared for them, she added.
To the pupils at Sandown High, her message was to have been: “I hope that you have the most amazing Valentine’s Day and that you are spoilt with love, roses and chocolates. Go home and tell your neighbours, parents, siblings that they are appreciated. You will go to bed with a happy heart and an open mind for the future.”
Steenkamp never gave the speech. She was found dead with multiple gunshot wounds to her head, torso and legs at Pistorius’s luxurious house in a Pretoria gated estate on Thursday at 3.45am.
There was nothing the paramedics could do, sources said.
The day before, Mail & Guardian reported, Steenkamp had told staff at Party Box Goodies, a gift shop in Hazeldean Square in Silver Woods, the gated estate in Pretoria, that Pistorius loved Valentine’s Day.
“She was smiling and laughing when she arrived,” the shop assistant told the paper.
The gift was a photo frame with four photographs of the couple. Steenkamp told her: “This is a surprise for him. He loves surprises.”
On Friday, Pistorius was at the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court for a bail hearing in connection with her death. He spent Thursday night in the holding cells at the Boschkop police station.
A Nike advert of Pistorius with the tagline “I am the bullet in the chamber” was removed from his official website on Thursday.
The advert shows Pistorius dressed in a green lycra body suit coming off the starting blocks wearing his distinctive blades, and showing the Nike “swoosh” and its slogan, “Just Do It”.
Earlier, the sportswear brand declined to comment on its future relationship with Pistorius.
Beeld reported on Friday how police and the estate guards had been summoned to Pistorius’s house two hours before the shooting after neighbours complained about a domestic disturbance.
At 3.30am, the paper said, guards rushed to the house after hearing shots. Steenkamp was found in the bathroom, shot four times through the door.
Police said neighbours had earlier heard “screaming and shouting”, and revealed that officers had previously been called to the house over domestic incidents.
Now the spotlight, initially on speculation that he may have mistaken Steenkamp for an intruder, has been cast on Pistorius’s temper, his guns and a tangled love life.
On Friday both Steenkamp’s family and her agent remained stunned at the killing. Her uncle Mike said Pistorius had been introduced to Steenkamp’s parents in Port Elizabeth and to her uncle and aunt in Cape Town.
“None of us had any qualms about him. There was no suspicion of violence. We’re all devastated.”
Steenkamp herself appeared to have no suspicions. Her last message on Instagram four days ago was a message against rape: “I woke up in a happy safe home this morning. Not everyone did. Speak out against the rape of individuals in SA. RIP Anene Booysen #rape #crime #sayNO.”
On Friday her family was having to deal with her death – and the prospect of watching her beyond the grave tomorrow night when reality TV show Tropika Island of Treasure is aired on SABC 1.