Updated 14 April 2014

Did Reeva look like Oscar's mother?

Photos suggest that Reeva Steenkamp looked very similar to the mother of the man who shot her, Oscar Pistorius.


Photos presented during Oscar Pistorius’ murder trial show Reeva with her natural hair colour. In these photos the slain model bears a striking resemblance to Pistorius’ late mother, Sheila.

This has raised questions about the complexities of Oscar and Reeva’s relationship and brought renewed focus to the interesting topic of mother-son dynamics.

Reeva’s hair was actually a dark brown. She used highlights to colour her hair blonde. Both the bone structure and freckled complexion of the two women is notably similar.

Research has shown that people consistently fall for partners who resemble their opposite-sex parent. Girls like boys who look like their fathers, boys like girls who look like their mothers.

Read: Has Oscar lost the plot?

Famous examples of this include Nigella Lawson whose former husband Charles Saatchi looked very similar to her father, Nigel Lawson.

Recent research which was conducted in Hungary and published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, lends support to what is known as the sexual imprinting hypothesis. This hypothesis claims that individuals create a sexual template based on their opposite-sex parent and, later in life, are attracted to individuals who fit this template.

This topic was also touched on by the famous psychoanalyst Dr Sigmund Freud who coined the term “Oedipus Complex”. The term refers to the way in which boys become sexually fixated on their mothers. The female version of this is the Electra Complex. While this fixation remains deep in the human subconscious – which explains why incest is not that common – it can, and does, influence one’s choice of mate.

Reeva Steenkamp on the left and Sheila Pistorius on the right

Read: Why are we glued to the Oscar Trial?

The loss of Pistorius’ mother when he was 15 weighed heavily on the athlete who cites her as his role model and the driving force behind his success. Sheila Pistorius died at the age of 42 after being wrongly diagnosed with hepatitis. An adverse reaction to the medication she was given caused her death. Pistorius has the date of her death, as well as that of her birth, tattooed on his arm.

The similarity between Reeve and Sheila could explain why their relationship became serious so swiftly, despite Oscar stating at the time that he was not looking for a serious relationship.

Do you think the two women look alike? Sound off in the comments below. 

Read more:
What fuels family murder?
More gun laws, more gun deaths?
Sportsmen who kill

Sources: Daily Mail/CNN/City Press/Proceedings of the Royal Society B


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