Ilse de Lange
2 minute read
14 Apr 2014
9:08 am

White Balloons for Oscar

Ilse de Lange

A small group of Oscar Pistorius supporters today braved the drizzle outside the High Court in Pretoria with a bunch of balloons, signifying their prayers for the athlete.

A woman hugs South African Paralympic track star Oscar Pistorius after handing him flowers as he leaves the North Gauteng Hight Court in Pretoria on April 11, 2014 during his ongoing murder trial. The prosecution angrily accused Oscar Pistorius of tailoring evidence and overplaying his deep fear of crime on April 11 to justify shooting dead his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. AFP PHOTO / MUJAHID SAFODIEN

They watched prosecutor Gerrie Nel entering court with a wooden eye, but cheered defence advocate Barry Roux and shouted “we love you Oscar” when he arrived at court.

One middle-aged woman even managed to sneak in a quick hug and kiss from a startled Pistorius.

The woman  are part of a Facebook support group they call “Small Things”, in which they pay tribute to Pistorius and post messages and prayers of support.

Supporters – mostly women – from as far as the USA, Austria and the UK posted messages on their page with one woman describing the media as a “lynch mob” not interested in the truth and another advising Pistorius to lift up his head, try not to be emotional and to look Nel “straight in the face”.

The women said they were not there to judge and were praying for Pistorius and his family as well as Reeva Steenkamp’s family.

Pistorius’ friend, disabled field athlete Dewald Reynders was at court for the first time, saying he wanted Pistorius to know that he was not alone.

Reynders was hesitant to see his friend being cross-examined by state prosecutor Gerrie Nel, saying it hurt him too much to see his friend being called a liar.

“The Oscar they’re talking about is not the Oscar I know.

“He is terribly kind and giving. He is always willing to help and is very well mannered.

“If you talk to the guys who were with him at the paralympics and the olympics you will get a totally different picture of him.

“If the world knew Oscar for who he really is there would be much more sympathy because what happened is a real tragedy.

“…The media frenzy around him and the broadcasting of even their most intimate messages really hurts.

“…We are here to support him. We’re praying for him… There is a lot of positive support for him out there,” he said.

Reynders, who sends messages to Pistorius through his trainer Ampie Louw, feels it is unfair that people so easily forget what Pistorius had achieved as a double amputee.

“Where are the days when he broke world records, when he was the first double amputee in history to qualify to compete in the Olympics against able-bodied athletes?” he said.