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Cape Town -
Reeva Steenkamp was not argumentative, opting to rather walk away from conflict, said her former boyfriend of about six years, Wayne Agrella.
Reflecting on Steenkamp – who was killed on Valentine’s Day a year ago – he said: “She would always support the person she’s with.”
Throughout their relationship, Agrella said he had never heard Steenkamp raise her voice.
Agrella, a jockey based in Port Elizabeth, described Steenkamp as “warm, loving, everything sweet”.
On this day a year ago, Paralympics star Oscar Pistorius fatally shot Steenkamp, 29, his girlfriend at the time, in his Pretoria East home.
His trial starts next month.
Speaking to the Cape Times this week, Agrella said to commemorate the day Reeva died he would possibly spend time with the Steenkamps at their establishment.
At the weekend, he planned to visit the beachside in Port Elizabeth where Steenkamp’s ashes were scattered.
Agrella recalled Steenkamp as a “plain Jane” and described how he now thought of her whenever he raced.
A year ago, the day she died, he raced.
He planned to do the same again on Friday.
Agrella had met Steenkamp, whose father Barry, is a horse trainer, through horse racing and had been in a relationship with her for about six years.
The two had been close throughout school and university and had lived together.
Asked whether she had enjoyed celebrating Valentine’s Day, Agrella said Steenkamp had represented everything Valentine’s Day stood for.
“She should’ve actually been born on Valentine’s Day. She got taken away on that day. It’s sad,” he said.
Agrella recalled one of the many ways Steenkamp had had an impact on his life: she was focused on health and introduced him to eating salads.
“She loved cooking. She loved fish. She was very, very healthy. She could make a deadly salad.”
Steenkamp loved animals, especially horses and Agrella said, given her father’s career, “she was born into the racing game”.
Agrella said Steenkamp had been “a Daddy’s girl”.
“She’s exactly like her dad. He’ll give his last away before he worries about himself.”
He began as an apprentice who worked under Barry and when people asked him what the best thing about this was, he would reply: “Meeting Barry Steenkamp’s daughter.”
After studying at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Steenkamp moved to Johannesburg to pursue a career in modelling.
Agrella said after she went to Joburg, he heard that Steenkamp was a woman into empowering and standing up for others.
This was evident in her passion for standing up against violence targeting women.
Agrella said he was not familiar with this side of Steenkamp.
He sometimes still struggles to believe she is dead.
Agrella said he saw her photograph in a newspaper this week and “couldn’t believe it”.
“It’s like I was waiting for her to come back from Johannesburg.
Pistorius’s case has generated worldwide interest and this week a number of stories about it made international headlines.
In Port Elizabeth though, where Steenkamp’s parents Barry and June Steenkamp live, there has been little reference to the matter.
Earlier this week Steenkamp’s parents, who lived in Cape Town when their daughter was a child, appealed to the media to respect their privacy.
They run a pub, The Barking Spider, in Greenbushes outside the centre of Port Elizabeth.
This week it remained open. June Steenkamp could be seen talking to patrons.
There are no photographs or references to Reeva in the pub.