Oscar Pistorius is a murderer. He brutally shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, most probably after an argument, on the morning of valentines day 2013. Later that day, Reeva had been due to speak to young girls at Sandton High School in Johannesburg, about respect from men and avoiding bad choices in relationships with partners. Oscar not only put a stop to her talk – but to the rest of her life.
The image that the media proliferated and profiteered from was that Oscar was a wholesome good looking hero, a person who’d battled against the odds, succeeded with a disability and who could inspire a younger generation. He made and sold column inches.
The truth was to become much murkier and complicated as the interview I did with author and blogger Lisa Wilson shows – Oscar, in my own words was “a nasty piece of work” and Lisa told me how he didn’t just compete his way to the top – he bullied and used his families wealth and influence to secure a place in the olympics and to ultimately pay for top legal representation – following his cold bloodied murder. And even now -with his bail set at 10,000 rand (or $700/ £450) – and him able to spend time at home as a convicted murderer – it seems to continue to work.
When Oscar was in the court room giving his evidence – most of it lies – I often wondered what his family heard – and why that differed so much from what I and the rest of the world heard? (Apart from the odd crackpots who shamelessly spout his innocents)! Did Oscar’s family argue over whether to support what they must have known was the truth (he murdered Teeva) or was the honour of the family name just too important? I guess we’ll never know.
When Pistorius took to the witness stand – all I heard were the whimpering lies of a murderer – desperately trying to save his career – inconvenienced by his current predicament – wanting nothing more than to get away with his murder and get back to his celebrity lifestyle.
I often ask myself why didn’t his family find the humanity to say to him ‘Hey Oscar, quit with the lies – just tell the truth and let be done. Reeva deserves the truth’. But they didn’t. They supported his story and continue to push the lie that it was all an accident – and that Oscar believed he was protecting his girlfriend with the unforgivable sentence ‘When Reeva went to bed that night she felt loved’. What an abominable insult to Reeva and her family.
And that is one of the things that disturbs me about this family. There was no humanity shown towards Reeva nor the Steenkamps. I guess the family that surrounds Pistorius are tied to his success – you can imagine that as Oscar’s stature rose – so did theirs. His adulation – became theirs- to share with friends and acquaintances, who also wanted a piece of the pie.
When Oscar pulled the trigger and aborted the ‘mission’ – they found themselves shackled to a narrative not of success & heroism – but of a angry, spiteful young man who put himself above others and treated women like accessories – to own and discard at his whom.
One imagines – after all the highs – they didn’t want to face the lows – even if that meant denying facts, and perpetuating a lie. They allowed themselves to become victims.
Unfortunately the latter also meant trampling all over the life and memory of someone else. Oscar’s family couldn’t bring themselves to believe that their status within their social network, South Africa and the world beyond – was as bloodied as the toilet where Oscar ended Reeva’s life.
Oscar and his wealthy family have been pivitol to his success and his failure as a human. The failure that lead him to become a murderer – who is currently on bail and out of jail – which shows what money and influence can do. Had he been unknown, without the wealth – or another colour – he’d be banged up right now – contemplating his actions.
Lisa Wilson has co-authored many books about Oscar Pistorius- including her latest booked which she co-wrote with called THE APPEAL: Oscar Pistorius – which she wrote with the freelance journalist and author Nick van der Leek.