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Moms share embraces and tears

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iol nws march 29 ss Reeva and Zanele 115 (40962355)

INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

THE SAME PAIN: June Steenkamp, the mother of Reeva, and Busi Khumalo, the mother of Zanele, comfort each other at the Pretoria High Court. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Johannesburg - With tears in their eyes, grasping each other’s forearms, two mothers grieving the brutal deaths of their daughters at the hands of boyfriends came face to face on Friday.

“We must keep strong with God, because He is the only one who can help us,” June Steenkamp told Busi Khumalo.

Both raised intelligent, ambitious young women who were models – both lost their lives too soon at the hands of the men they loved.

The trials of both their killers were under way in neighbouring courts at the Pretoria High Court this week.

Khumalo was able to empathise with Steenkamp’s loss as both women have had to listen to the grisly details of how their daughters met their end.

During a meeting between the two families, Steenkamp embraced members of the Khumalo family and they exchanged words of support.

Steenkamp lost her daughter, Reeva, on Valentine’s Day last year when her boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius, shot and killed her in his Pretoria townhouse.

“You always protected your daughter just like I did, but then there was that moment that we were not there,” said Steenkamp, overcome with emotion.

She hugged the Khumalos’ two daughters, Lindelwa and Confidence, before turning to their father, Themba.

“I’m sorry for your loss. We know exactly what you are going through,” Themba said, to which Steenkamp responded: “You know more than anybody.”

The two mothers shared an embrace before Busi returned to court GB, where her daughter’s killer was sentenced. She said that she had wanted to meet Steenkamp to console her.

“She told me that I should forgive (Thato Kutumela) for taking my daughter’slife as she has forgiven Oscar Pistorius for taking Reeva’s, but I told her I cannot do that yet.”

Steenkamp still has to sit through court proceedings where Pistorius is expected to take the stand and testify as to what happened on the night he shot Reeva four times through a closed toilet door. The matter was postponed on Friday.

The Khumalos said that they could start picking up the pieces of their lives after Kutumela was sentenced to an effective 20-year sentence. “We feel the sentence is fair, although we were hoping for much more… His sentencing will lift a veil of light in our lives,” Themba said.

He added that the meeting with Steenkamp was a sharing of common pain. “We both lost our daughters who were ambitious and I’m sure would have contributed to society. Unfortunately their boyfriends thought otherwise and it is regrettable.” - Saturday Star


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