The model and former law graduate was a campaigner against domestic abuse
The day before she was shot dead by her Olympic star boyfriend Oscar Pistorius, Reeva Steenkamp tweeted support for a campaign against the violence that kills thousands of women in South Africa each year.
On her Twitter page on February 13, 2013, the 29-year-old posted her support for a “Black Friday” campaign urging South Africans to wear black in honour of thousands of women raped and killed in the country, often by their partners.
Steenkamp, who died in the early hours of Valentine’s day, wanted to use her rising profile as a model and girlfriend of one of South Africa’s most recognised sportsmen to raise awareness of the scourge, her best friend, Gina Myers, said.
“A couple of days before she passed away, she was saying how people were so ignorant of the fact that (violence on women) is going around,” Myers told Reuters, the week after her friend was shot.
Born in Cape Town and raised in the eastern city of Port Elizabeth, the former law graduate moved to Johannesburg after landing a job as the face of Avon, she also worked for Toyota, Clover, Zui and FHM and as a television presenter
A national celebrity, Steenkamp was a contestant on South African TV showTropika Island of Treasure 5 which was due to be broadcast for the first time the week after her death.
And, as her profile increased, so did her desire to help others as Kerry Smith, a 35-year-old legal assistant, revealed in an interview with the BBC this week.
Ms Smith described Ms Steenkamp as a “self-conscious” and private person who was determined to pursue a career in law. Ms Steenkamp had applied to the bar in late 2011, and had hoped to become a legal advocate before the age of 30.
“She always said modelling would not last – you need to have something to come back to,” Ms Smith said.
Ms Smith said she and Ms Steenkamp had planned to start a law firm to help abused women after graduating. Both women had reportedly been involved in abusive relationships.
She wanted to save everyone, wanted to protect everyone,” said Ms Smith.
“She was more than just a pretty face, she had a beautiful heart and ambition.”
When Steenkamp was shot, not only did it launch the most high-profile murder trial in the world, it also meant she became another statistic in what has been described as one of the world’s most violence-ridden countries outside a war zone.
A recent survey by gender violence group Gender Links in four South African provinces found that one in two women experienced some form sexual or physical violence at least once in their lifetime, including within intimate relationships.