Reeva was more than 'just the girlfriend'

2013-02-18 16:55
Charl Blignaut
Johannesburg - Actress, radio deejay and model Phuti Khomo was in Jamaica with Reeva Steenkamp for the filming of the Tropika Island of Treasure reality show.

Their friendship gelled during their time together. For the first time since the heartbreaking news of Steenkamp's death, Khomo has spoken out about the rising star the country lost on Valentine’s Day. She has chosen to do so in the form of a letter to her friend.

The letter reveals the real person behind the headlines – a brave and witty South African destined to become a star, who could speak isiXhosa and who decided to become a model after nearly being paralysed by a horse riding accident.

The actress told City Press that she and Steenkamp’s other friends will be launching a campaign to keep her memory alive.

Exclusive: My Dearest Reeva – A letter from Phuti Khomo
My Dearest Reeva

I don't think that anyone will ever understand the miraculous nature and complexity of our relationship. I use the word "miraculous" because I still can’t believe how our friendship came to this level, a level that most friendships take years to reach. And we achieved that in a couple of short months.

A mutual friend said that you and I got so close so quickly cause I found "a like me" in you. You too were a very crazy, messed up girl with the most extraordinary sense of humour. Which was very unexpected coming from the kind, loving, humble soul that you were. Reeva, you could have broken your leg and still take jokes about that leg in your hour of pain. Yep! You were that easy about life.

Between Jay, you and me, I always said I gave you guys BEE status and you said I was the token black girl. Yeah, that’s how messed up you were.

You were so kind and loving, and your care for others just transcended norms. You spoke isiXhosa but weren't as fluent as you were when you were younger, so you planned on taking isiXhosa lessons so that you could communicate with your friends back in Umthatha and make them feel that they could still relate to you. It’s that kind of selflessness that drew me so close to you.

Many people don't know that the dream of becoming a model first came to you while lying paralysed in the hospital for months, after a back injury incurred while horse riding. I mean who does that?!

And that’s the approach you took to life, every facet of it.

Now I can only imagine how much that kind of will would have helped you accomplish in years to come.

You had such big dreams, some of which were already taking place and you were so excited about your plans. You were gearing up to make some big career moves, but your shocking and untimely death took your dreams with it.

You were educated, smart, beautiful, humble, kind, loving and understanding, like the time I joked and told you I would vote you off my island, and you responded by saying, “I would understand, because you’d have a good reason.”

You were what beautiful girls hate. You made being beautiful on the outside not be enough. You just had to make inner beauty a necessity to complete true beauty. Thank you very much for that extra admin!! Lol!

When I heard about your passing, the first thing I did was to call you, and when your phone rang my heart leapt with joy and relief, because then I expected to hear your voice saying, “No babe, it wasn’t me, they got the story wrong as always.” And when there was no answer … I felt my world slowly spinning off its axis, leaving me scared and dumbfounded.

Your family lost a daughter, Gina, Jay, Da-les, Pearl, Poppy and many more lost a close friend. The world has lost a genuine soul, a shooting star that was gearing to light up the sky. I have lost a true friend. There is a large wound in my heart which will heal only slowly through the love I know you will continue to send us.

Every time I read the papers or watch the news, the story always starts with “Oscar Pistorius’ girlfriend.” No! I refuse to let that be your title. You are not going to be remembered as the "the girlfriend". You wore many titles, some of which the world still has to see. But the world will echo your name and remember you for who YOU are … REEVA STEENKAMP.

Phuti Khomo
I will always LOVE YOU


  • obed.majoko - 2013-02-18 17:05

    That is brilliant Phuti. Coming from someone who knows her much better. May her soul rest in peace.

  • Kay Carakas - 2013-02-18 17:10

    These girls are exactly what SA needs! Reaching out to each other and building bridges. We can all learn from this and ignite some patriotism amidst the madness. We all need each other to work together and get it right. Speak up, write, interact, debate - but with the intention of a Positive outcome. Not the doom and gloom stuff that's so dominant on twitter etc.

  • monica.venter.75 - 2013-02-18 17:11

    How right you are Phuti - we must all hold Reeva Steenkamp's name up high. Reeva's family and friends you are in my thoughts and prayers - my condolences to you.

  • gus.fernandes.7 - 2013-02-18 17:12

    Excellent well expressed, genuine heartfelt tribute. You are correct, Pistorius's name should NOT be mentioned together with your departed friend.

  • karin.devereuxrackley - 2013-02-18 17:12

    Beautiful, she sounded like an amazing woman... Both inside and out.. RIP

  • brenda.pretorius1 - 2013-02-18 17:15

    OMW! I was smiling and crying at the same time. So hard to keep the tears back. I could feel the love for Reeva, while reading this ammazing letter. RIP.

  • glynis.jerling - 2013-02-18 17:15

    What a beautiful letter. Written with such honesty and feeling. Now we know she was a wonderful person.

  • Rashida Patel - 2013-02-18 17:20

    Beautiful tribute !

  • Hasani P - 2013-02-18 17:20


  • izan.botes.7 - 2013-02-18 17:21

    WTF news 24, please wait until tomorrow than al your BA graduate reporters can speculate an sensationalize their harts out. Or are you going to start reporting personnel profiles on al the murder victims in SA. sometimes i do not even know why i bother going on to your site at all.

      brenda.pretorius1 - 2013-02-18 17:53

      What is wrong with u? This is just a loving tribute from a friend. OMW! Feel the love! So rude and inconsiderate....

      warren.beard.908 - 2013-02-18 22:16

      Brother that is not cool!

      debbie.jurgensen.9 - 2013-02-19 13:28

      The murder of any person is sad and heartbreaking but your comment was not cool! The letter was one of love, something our country so badly needs instead of these cold, haughty feelings. Shame on you!

  • mualusi - 2013-02-18 17:22

    I now know her from just reading the message! Amen

  • verkuyl - 2013-02-18 17:23

    What a loss of a great person RIP

  • madeleine.swanepoel.86 - 2013-02-18 17:24

    So beautiful, rest in peace Reeva!

  • - 2013-02-18 17:24

    Well said Phuti, much respect to you. I hope that murderer Oscar fades into obscurity and her memory shines brightly.

  • christina.oliviera.7 - 2013-02-18 17:25

    ~Tears~ Very emotional tribute...

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2013-02-18 17:25


      lwando.memani - 2013-02-18 17:41

      Look in the mirror, you will the attention seeker

      nkala.popo - 2013-02-18 17:44


      madise.paul - 2013-02-18 17:45

      u need a hot klap!

      osmaseko - 2013-02-18 17:51

      Msunu wakho

      celeste.m.lackay - 2013-02-18 18:44

      What a sad sad sad existence you. Must lead Tiaan to make such an idiotic statement!! We all thought we knew Oscar but now, thanks to Phuti I and many other KNOW Reeva. Crawl back into the hole you came out of! Ijit!!!

      Zahir - 2013-02-18 21:15

      Shut the f up

      warren.beard.908 - 2013-02-18 22:18

      Maybe that's why you only have 32 friends

      sabelo.msomi.56 - 2013-02-19 08:31


  • towers86 - 2013-02-18 17:26


  • rosalie.peloza - 2013-02-18 17:26

    Phuti, What a wonderful letter you have written to a beautiful woman that has captured the hearts of many around the world. I have been following this very sad story from the other side of the globe and l cannot find one ill word written about your lost friend, Reeva. Yes she was beautiful, talented, spoke eloquently and had a great future ahead of her, perhaps she was not even aware of it. Take solace in knowing that Oscar Pristorius's life has also come to a tragic end however he will live it out for the rest of his life whether he is found guilty or not. Perhaps we will never know the details behind the senseless snuffing of one's life but take comfort in knowing that Oscars nightmare is just about to begin and never to end. Bless Reeva's family, her friends and you.

  • rob.vanjou - 2013-02-18 17:26

    Thank you

  • lwando.memani - 2013-02-18 17:35

    Poor soul, anyway its possible that Oscar will walk free on this one because a police official is going to be bribed, evidence will be tempered with. Oscar will be a free. This is the reality of South africa.

      silke.kaiser.148 - 2013-02-18 18:23

      I disagree with you. Jub Jub was dealt with very harshly, and I feel that Oscar will not escape the might of the law in this case either. Both cases are incredibly tragic, school children in school uniforms (so innocent still) being mowed down, and now this with Oscar. And Oscar must suffer the consequences of this pre-meditated murder. Jub Jub did not plan to kill those children - but after the first shot, Oscar planned to kill Reeva. May all these victims rest in peace

      annette.hawthorne.3 - 2013-02-18 21:15

      Justice was done with Jub Jub.The difference is he didn't get in the car with the intention to hurt of Kill anyone. Agreed he should not have been driving under the influence. Let see how Oscar try's to explain his way out of this. There is NO excuse for what has been done in the case of the accused!! No matter what happened to get things so heated!! Let's see what tomorrow brings....the truth will prevail!!!!

  • thandazab - 2013-02-18 17:38

    So sad. Da whole time we were watching Tropika Island of treasure we were close to tears. She really seemed like a sweet sweet girl its just not fair that she had to go like this. She didn't deserve it. I pray that the Steenkamp family finds strength to cope with such a tragic passing of their daughter. There are millions who didn't know Reeva bt are still saddened by her senseless passing. I can only imagine how the family must feel.

  • michiel.oberholzer - 2013-02-18 17:44

    Tragic.....any form of weapon should be banned even those of our police forces. Nobody should be in possession of such power. Weapons do not create peace. We all get angry at some stage and in that moment of anger it is difficult to predict what anybody can and will do. My thoughts are with all of those whom have lost their lives as a result of weapons of destruction and death. My brother shot himself because he was depressed. My nephew almost shot himself by accident after playing with his step dads rifle. Weapons do not create peace. It just makes it much easier to kill even if by accident. They cause power regimes, they do not make us safe. Love your letter Phuti, straight from the heart.

      judy.andrews.3388 - 2013-02-22 12:21

      Hi Michiel, My husband has been a responsible gun holder for many years, to ban all guns would only open up a magic world for underground bussiness, In most cases that you read about where ladies have been raped they are held a knife point, so must knives be banned as well, whar about traditional weapons? The strict laws about applying for a firearm should be able to root out the bad apples, the trouble is guns can be bought on the street. Once again it is not the gun that is at fault it is the person holding the gun thay's the problem

  • Tiaan Liebenberg - 2013-02-18 17:52

    Before this happened, nobody knew who was Reeva and Phuti - mere nameless pin-up and third-string actresses. This is only a half-witted publicity stunt to increase her own profile

      osmaseko - 2013-02-18 17:58

      Ignorant people like you didn't know them.

      douglas.hollis.7 - 2013-02-18 18:01

      Really. And you know this how Tiaan? Have you ever lost anyone close to you? Have you ever had a heartfelt desire to pay tribute to such a person, and felt a burning desire to see that person again, or just speak to him or her one more time? Think before you speak. Honestly.

      ilse.crowther - 2013-02-18 18:03

      Surely you are bigger than this Tiaan??? Seriously? That's a damn lousy comment. Sies man

      mmaphongwana - 2013-02-18 18:07

      You're such a fool to even say such,you're that Nobody who knew nothing anbout them,so dumb yeseesss!

      hilola.selani - 2013-02-18 18:12

      Jus coz 0scar was a heartless bastard it doesn't mean all celebrities are heartless....4kof man!

      siphom.mnguni - 2013-02-18 18:38

      @tiaan.liebenberg:) thank you very much for exposing yourself that there are evil selfish, self-centred, pathetic excuse for a human beings like you. This vividly exhibits that you have never loved anyone in your miserable life, but yourself. You are such a sanctimonious, self-righteous, stupid narcissist. Heaven help you! This is a genuine outpouring grief from a true friend who is neither seeking attention nor trying to increase her profile. I feel nothing but pity for your partner if you have one. I have never met Reeve in life but I couldn't help falling in love with her in that programme. That infectious smile. Such unmatched beauty! Rest in peace girl!

      Charmaine Gray - 2013-02-18 18:48

      maybe you should consider that nobody really needs to or wants to hear your comments in a tragic event like this where REAL people are hurting - no matter their profession. Remember do unto others as we want done onto ourselves Tiaan. One day you might need compassion...

      annette.hawthorne.3 - 2013-02-18 19:57

      Hey Tiaan. Before this happened no one knew about you....and the difference one still knows about you!!! At a time like this to be so pathetically cruel!! Why not dig a hole, wrap up into a ball and rot. One less of ure kind would not go unnoticed!! RIP Reeva!

      warren.beard.908 - 2013-02-18 22:22

      You again!

      kimberly.masters.12 - 2013-02-19 04:49

      It is justified that you, Tiaan, speak for EVERYBODY, when you use the word 'nobody'? Your comment speaks volumes about you. The fact that Reeva was a celebrity in her own right, a campaigner for nameless woman who suffer from violence at the hands of men, is tragically ironic that her life, which was God given, be so violently taken away. I pray that your daughter, one day, does not find her life ending in the same way as Reeva's ended. Irrespective of who Reeva was publicly, she was still a daughter, a sister, a niece, a granddaughter, an aunt, a friend, and most importantly, a person. If ever, in the event of your death, I hope that people will speak kindly of you.... but with your given mindset, portrayed by your cruel comment, I fear that this may not be the case.

      Rhouda Cajee - 2013-04-17 15:08

      Tiaan you are a sad man with a sad life shame

  • reratiloem - 2013-02-18 17:57

    Such heart warming,kind and geniune words Phuti. Farewell Reeva, may you continue to shine wherever you going!!

  • odette.h.slabbert - 2013-02-18 17:59


  • Vernon Tiego Masango - 2013-02-18 18:02

    Wonderful words. Wonderful letter. Moving. Touching. Her spirit literally shines through this letter. Makes one feel like 'i wish i had known her'. May her soul rest in peace.

  • elaine.greenblatt.1 - 2013-02-18 18:04

    What a berautiful way to express a friendship

  • karendebrah - 2013-02-18 18:10

    Easy to get a sports award for Oscar if he was on steroids.

  • samantha.dupreez.54 - 2013-02-18 18:11

    Wow this is such a beautiful letter.I feel so sad over Reeva's death,as if I knew her.I think that many will be inspired by her and the girl she was.I wish peace and comfort to her family especially throughout tommorow.RIP Reeva!

  • - 2013-02-18 18:11

    Thanks! The problem with people who are saying you are an attention seeker (forgive me, prema facie I thought you were!) is that we have, in the era of Twitter and Facebook,lost the definition of what's genuine expression is and what a publicity stunt looks like. I feel genuineness in this letter. Although we were taught that men do not cry..well they do sometimes when reality hits them. We have buried friends we have been for longer and closer, but never expressed how we felt as well as this.

  • Saul Shauleen Mukwewa - 2013-02-18 18:12

    esh, RIP Reeva, now i am getting to knw u,,,,,its never too late for me though!

  • hilola.selani - 2013-02-18 18:19

    Written out of genuine appreciation of Reeva's life.

  • silke.kaiser.148 - 2013-02-18 18:19

    Lovely, authentic letter.

  • eish.eish.5 - 2013-02-18 18:28


  • samantha.dupreez.54 - 2013-02-18 18:33

    Wow this is such a beautiful letter.I feel so sad over Reeva's death,as if I knew her.I think that many will be inspired by her and the girl she was.I wish peace and comfort to her family especially throughout tomorrow.RIP Reeva!

  • jennifer.nda - 2013-02-18 18:37

    touched by this letter.thank u phuthi khomo.she was a true friend indeed. Will always love u Reeva.

      Thelma Nkosi - 2013-02-18 19:20

      Thanks Phuti for giving us this, we don't know much about her but this help us to remember her of who she was and stand for! i like fact that she must be called we her own tittle not Oscar's as this give more publicly to him than the victim.

  • memo.mabika - 2013-02-18 18:40

    Reeva's genuine friends and family would not do this ,they are mourning her in private .This is someone who just wants some free publicity please seek attention somewhere else.

      mandisamandy.mhlongo - 2013-02-18 19:00

      Who are you to ....

      Sherilyn Diamond Katz - 2013-02-18 19:16

      how insensitive of you

  • nicholus.nakanyane - 2013-02-18 18:49

    Def. OJ Simpson version

  • hein.devrey - 2013-02-18 18:53

    Senseless killing! How I long to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

  • sarita.devilliers.5 - 2013-02-18 19:11

    What a tribute,it brought tears to my eyes.God bless you and I pray that something beautiful will come from this senseless death.

  • gail.rosier.3 - 2013-02-18 19:35

    Thank you for sharing that Phuti. What a wonderful friend you are.

  • zanele.hlatshwayo.589 - 2013-02-18 19:50

    Not just a loss to friends and a family but a loss to S.A.Thanks for a beautiful article .

  • howard.sampear - 2013-02-18 20:00

    Please people this is not a publicity stunt. Phuti is well known actress. She does not need publicity on the greeving of Reeva Steenkamp's dead. You people are really cruel. I agree with her. We all mention her as Oscar's girlfriend. She needs to be known as Reeva Steenkamp. I know you are suppotive of Oscar.

      celeste.m.lackay - 2013-02-18 20:27

      Trolls Howard. Sub humans and not worthy of our discontent.

  • celeste.m.lackay - 2013-02-18 20:24

    I didn't know Reeva. Now I have an idea of who she was and what she might have become. What is known is that she was someone's friend, sister, cousin, daughter, colleague, lover. She could have been my daughter. When I read the inane and insensitive comments posted by trolls and sub-humans on this site, when I see the thumbs-down on messages of condolence to the family and friends of a girl's life interrupted, then I am ashamed of us all! Is this what we have become!? If it takes this kind of tragedy, and that of Anene Booysen, and all the other young women who die daily at the hands of their loved ones, then I don't want to associate myself with you. Regardless of your race and mine, we are human beings first, but clearly some of us have mutated into sub-humans.

  • carol.wessels.92 - 2013-02-18 23:03

    Phuti your tribute bought tears to my eyes. It is really beautiful.

  • kimberly.masters.12 - 2013-02-19 04:33

    An extract from an email: The sad news that Reeva Steenkamp, a South African model who campaigned against violence against women herself, was tragically murdered, allegedly by her boyfriend Oscar Pistorius - the celebrated Olympic runner. The subsequent media coverage has been appalling, with many media outlets plastering images of Steenkamp modeling underwear next to headlines about her murder - using her as a sexualized object to attract readers, even after death. Furthermore, publications as prestigious as The New York Times have decided to focus on the "adrenaline-fueled" life of Pistorius and the loss of a sports hero, rather than the woman whose life was truly taken. Email the editor of your local paper to bring awareness to the coverage of Reeva Steenkamp's death. "Dear Editor, I'm writing you to express concern over how the media has covered the death of South African Reeva Steenkamp. She has been sexually objectified and her loss of life has been trivialized. I ask that you please avoid sexualizing her in this publication, avoid glorifying the man who stands accused of her murder, and be more acutely aware of how you report violence against women generally – an issue that impacts at least 1 billion women worldwide every year." Make sure to CC us ( when you send these letters so we can track our impact! Together let's take this small step to change the way women are treated around the world. The Team

      helenjeanette - 2013-02-19 11:51

      She was a lingerie and swimsuit model!!! She objectified herself!! That is an absolutely stupid accusation to make that the media is "objectifying her". And by disagreeing with your comment, I am not condoning what happened to her.

  • letesia.castelyn - 2013-02-19 06:50

    Even though I never knew her, this letter makes me think we all need a friend like Reeva. Even though her death was unnatural, her wings will spread wide in Heaven. God be with her family and friends today, and in the days to come.

  • talia.daniels.77 - 2013-02-19 07:18

    Phuti, what a beautiful,honouring tribute to this special lady. thank you.

  • talia.daniels.77 - 2013-02-19 07:28

    To all. Phuti Khomo was also a contestant in the Tropika series. I write to those who felt she was doing this for attention.But it is really sad that as South Africans some halfwits need to be so rude and insensitive.

  • gail.hayesbean - 2013-02-19 09:22

    Yours is the best tribute I have read to the Reeva I knew. I too want to remember her not as the girlfriend and leggy blond model but as the most genuine sincere person whose star was struck down in its prime. Thank you so much for this and please keep me informed of anything you may be doing to honour her memory by friending me on Facebook. My son Angus who studied law with her is desperately trying to find a way to get in touch with her parents as he is in Dubai and could not back it for the meorial.