Johannesburg - 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 telling them how she had not just overcome the challenges of growing up poor and even breaking her back horseriding, 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 Joburg 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 return to his house on the pretext of feeding his dogs. On arrival she discovered there were no dogs, and she told him 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. “She walked out smiling too.”
The gift was a photo frame with four photographs of the couple. Steenkamp told her: “This is a surprise for him. He loves surprises.”
Beeld reported on Friday how police and the estate guards had been summoned to Pistorius’s house two hours before the fatal shooting took place 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. She had been shot four times through the door, the paper reported.
Police immediately secured the area as a media frenzy erupted.
Pistorius remained at the house until just before midday when a convoy of police vehicles took him to the police station.
Steenkamp’s body was removed from the house shortly afterwards in a pathologist’s vehicle.
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.
Steenkamp’s agent Sarit Tomlinson said her death was a tragedy.
“People forget that she wasn’t just devastatingly beautiful, she was also highly intelligent with a law degree,” she said.