EXCLUSIVE: This year, Reeva Steenkamp's father went to see his daughter’s killer. Her mother refused to go.

Content warning: This post deals with domestic violence and might be triggering for some readers. 

June Steenkamp, her husband Barry, and their whole family have been through the sort of tragedy so many of us fear.

For 13 years, they have been navigating the murky waters of grief and loss after their daughter, Reeva, was murdered, while still desperately seeking justice.

Reeva was killed by her then-boyfriend, South African former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius on Valentine's Day in 2013. Pistorius killed Steenkamp, a model and law graduate, when he fired four times through the bathroom door of his high-security house.

Pistorius' trial was watched by millions around the globe – every minute of over 40 days in court broadcast live and amplified by social media. 

Initially, Pistorius was found guilty of the lesser crime of culpable homicide. After another lengthy trial and several appeals, Pistorius was found guilty of murder and given a 13-year jail sentence in 2017. 

State prosecutors accused him of deliberately killing Reeva in a fit of jealousy and anger. Pistorius denied the accusation, saying he was deeply in love with her and believed he was protecting her when he shot through the toilet door because he thought an intruder was hiding there.

But June doesn't believe this is the truth. 

"It's a story that's been made up to save him. No one [a burglar/intruder] was in the toilet. It was Reeva in the toilet. And he knew," she tells Mamamia


Watch: June and Barry Steenkamp speak about their daughter Reeva. Post continues below.

Recently, June was in Australia filming for SBS' Insight program, discussing what seeking justice means to her and what it looks like from her family's eyes. 

"It went very well, but it was actually very, very devastatingly traumatic to us," she explains."We really care for people who have been through similar to us. We're sensitive to that, and you take it on."

June finds it hard to put into words what justice means to her.

"There is never going to be closure. We will never get over this. You can't. It's a physical loss. I don't think we can find justice from now on. He has never, ever shown any remorse, and I don't think he is rehabilitated at all. I don't think you get rehabilitated from a bad and uncontrollable temper," she explains.

In a bid to seek answers, June's husband Barry went to the jail to speak with Pistorius in February this year, as part of a victim/offender dialogue that is offered in South Africa. 


Barry sat in a room with Pistorius – the Steenkamp family lawyer also present – and Barry was allowed to pose certain questions to Pistorius. June chose not to attend. 

Barry said of that experience: "When I went and met Oscar, I asked him questions. I didn't get the answers that I wanted. So, it could have taken us the whole day but in the end, it was shortened by me saying we aren't getting the answers that we want. And we'll leave it at that."

Barry continued: "Now only Oscar knows the true story. It was really traumatising for myself and also for June who wasn't there. She couldn't wait for me to get home and find out what had gone on."

Recently at a parole board hearing in April 2023, June was willing to face Pistorius, but her daughter's killer refused to see her. 

"I said to the parole board I just feel that he's not rehabilitated, and that he is a danger to other people. And they did not give him parole," June says.

The parole board's decision was taken at a hearing at the correctional facility on the outskirts of South Africa's administrative capital, Pretoria, where Pistorius is being held. The Department of Correctional Services said the parole board found Pistorius had not completed the minimum detention period required to be released.

The Steenkamp family lawyer Tania Koen tells Mamamia that offenders in South Africa are automatically eligible for parole consideration after serving half of their sentence.

"I also have it on good authority that Oscar's lawyers are going to apply for the parole board's decision to be reviewed," Tania says. 


"Since 2013, I've been working with the Steenkamps and it's been a very difficult road for them. First and foremost, there is the trauma of losing Reeva, then add on a very publicised trial and legal process."

Pistorius has served half of his sentence, given his term started in 2014. The parole board will consider a new application in August 2024.

June understands she cannot "physically or mentally keep him in [prison] for any length of time".  

"I can't control what the board or the legal system decides. But I must say, the parole board listened to me and they were respectful [at the recent hearing]. I believe he should have had a longer sentence, and the public should be protected from him. But I know that's never going to happen."

Reeva Steenkamp prior to her death. Image: Getty.


We often hear about the 'five stages of grief'. There's denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then apparently,acceptance.

But June doubts she will ever get there. 

"It's something you never get over, losing a child. My experience of grief has remained the exact same over the years. It feels like it was yesterday that Reeva died," she says. 

"They phoned me at 6am in the morning, the detective saying I had to come over. I told him to tell me is she alive or gone. He then said 'I'm very sorry, she passed away'. It was the end of the world as I knew it. Sometimes I wake up crying when I realise she's not here anymore."

June and Barry were older parents and had never expected to conceive. They call Reeva their "lucky child".

June takes a lot of comfort in her religion. She says it's a source of strength that's kept her afloat throughout the past decade. She doesn't know where she would be without it.


"I'm sure Reeva came straight from God. She was precious. I like to think I'm a good Christian, and that's the only strength I've had. God has never let me down. It's kept me going. When it happened, I didn't want to live. My friends would bring their children over to stay with me and keep me busy. It was loved ones and God that helped me."

Another outlet for June has been the foundation she set up in Reeva's name - the Reeva Steenkamp Foundation.

"We have a foundation now that advocates against the abuse of women and children. And that's also been a strength for me to be helping other women," June says.

The foundation strives to be Reeva's voice and continue her work in educating and empowering victims of violence and abuse – not only in South Africa, but around the world. They also work to provide donations as a bursary to law students in South Africa, to help them qualify as attorneys specialising in family law.  

A lot of the victim-survivors June meets have very sobering stories. June acknowledges it is sometimes "traumatic" for her to hear them. But during Pistorius' trial, June realised she wanted to make a tangible difference to other women's lives, and the foundation was the perfect way to do exactly that. 

June Steenkamp. Image: Supplied.


"During the court case, I just kept quiet. I didn't speak to anybody, I just kept my dignity. For many years, I used to be the little mouse. Now they can't shut me up. I've got lots to say. Lots," says June.

June takes some comfort in the memories of the time she had with Reeva. Of course, it doesn't equate to the full life Reeva should have lived. 

"I reminisce on every Christmas. We spent all of them together, except for one – around the time she was with Oscar. It was very sad for us that she didn't come, but it was because of what was going on with him."

Throughout Reeva's relationship with Pistorius, and since her death, June has never really had a proper conversation with Pistorius. She does however reflect on the one time they briefly spoke.


"Reeva was in the car with him, and she phoned me. She said 'he is driving really fast, he's making me afraid'. She put him on the phone to me, and I said to him: 'If you hurt my daughter, one hair on her head, I will hurt you'. And he slowed down. His temper... it was uncontrollable."

Coming up, June says they are going to celebrate Reeva's life and hold an event with close family and friends. 

"Reeva was our whole life, she was such a special person," says June. 

"Every day we miss her, and every day my husband and I talk about her. She was the most beautiful girl, this wonderful, wonderful girl who loved us so much and we loved her."

June Steenkamp appears on SBS’s Insight double episode ‘Seeking Justice’. Part one of the episode is available to stream now on SBS On Demand. Part two will air on SBS on Tuesday 18 July at 8:30pm and will also be available to stream on On Demand.

If this has raised any issues for you, or if you just feel like you need to speak to someone, please call 1800 RESPECT (1800 737 732) – the national sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. 

The Men's Referral Service is also available on 1300 766 491 or via online chat at

Feature Image: Supplied/Mamamia.