The life of Reeva Steenkamp unpacked through intimate testimonials from those closest to her.
My Name Is Reeva is a documentary series about model, Reeva Steenkamp, who was murdered by her then boyfriend, Oscar Pistorius on February 14, 2013, Valentine’s Day of that year.
The documentary looks into the model’s life before and after the murder, through the eyes of her parents, Barry and June Steenkamp. The three-part series first aired on August 25, 2022, on Mnet, and was then later made available on DSTV CatchUP and streaming site, Showmax. The documentary was written by Justin Strydom, produced by David Taylor and directed by Warren Batchelor.
The first episode introduces us to a sad, nostalgic when viewers first meet Steenkamp’s parents, Barry and June Steenkamp. Suspense builds as the pair are introduced to the concept of the victim-offender dialogue, a process where the victim of a crime or surviving family members and the offender of the crime in this case, Pistorius, have an in-person meeting. The hope is that through hearing the perpetrator’s side of the story, the victim or their loved ones may possibly get closure.
The pain is evident in Steenkamp’s eyes even ten years on, to them their daughter’s death is still a fresh and raw wound. Conversations with their lawyer Tania Koen bring back the memory of the night they lost their beloved daughter.
The re-enactment of the scenes of the fateful night when Steenkamp lost her life ground much of the documentary. The excellently cast actors in the re-enacted scenes help provide a glimpse into the possible chain of events that unfolded on that fateful night, according to Calvin Mollett’s (co-author of the book Oscar vs the Truth) running theory.
In the second episode, the documentary turns to factual evidence through crime scene photographs and videos taken by the investigating officer. Other evidence from the scene which is analysed included blood stains, bullet holes on the bathroom door and the damaged furniture.
Verbal testimony from the trial is also dramatised. Pistorius’ neighbours testified that they heard raised voices and a woman’s scream. A chilling reenactment is used to illustrate that testimony in the documentary.
One shocking revelation made in the documentary comes from a painting of a man standing with a gun in hand, and a woman on the stairs going to heaven with wings. Reeva made the painting when she was just 14. Mrs Steenkamp said she thinks her daughter unconsciously knew about her death before it happened, that the painting was a prophecy.
In episode three we get to hear about Oscar’s character through interviews with Reeva’s best friend, Gina Myers, who said Pistorius “…is aggressive and irresponsible with his gun and how he was obsessive towards Reeva.”
The documentary also highlights hidden and tampered evidence, that was not presented in court. Apparently, Pistorius’s brother Carl Pistorius deleted the contents on Pistorius’s cellphone, which included phone calls and messages sent on the night of the murder.
My Name Is Reeva helped to get a sense of who Reeva was, her life journey and how her murder has had a lasting negative impact on her parents. The documentary is a deep dive into gender-based violence and its many manifestations.
Vuvu rating: 8/10
FEATURED IMAGE: My Name Is Reeva Cover. Photo: Keshet International/Supplied