JOHANNESBURG – Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape 10 years ago has died.
Kuzwayo – who was more commonly known as Khwezi – died yesterday.
WHO IS KHWEZI?
In December 2005 President Zuma was charged with rape and on the 8 May the following year the Johannesburg High Court acquitted him. The woman he was accused of raping became known to the public as “Khwezi” to protect her after multiple threats and facing a barrage of insults and harassment.
Khwezi grew up around Zuma who had spent 10 years on Robben Island with her father who was an African National Congress (ANC) member – her father died in a car accident in 1985. According to ANC veteran Ronnie Kasrils, Khwezi spent much time around him and Zuma seeing them as father figures.
In 1990 Khwezi was diagnosed with HIV and then became an aids activist. Zuma had infamously said that he had taken a shower after sex with Khwezi leading to satirical cartoons on the then potential president’s views on prevention of HIV/Aids.
During the trial, Khwezi revealed that zuma had offered to marry her to evade the case. Kasrils had said that Khwezi and her mother were victimised for speaking out and her mother’s house was also torched at the time.
After the trial, Khwezi and her mom moved to the Netherlands were they were granted asylum in 2007 – they both now live in KwaZulu-Natal.
In the 2016 local government elections, Khwezi’s name was again brought up as four female protestors staged a silent demonstration at the Independent Electoral Commission’s result center in front of President Zuma as he delivered his speech. The silent protest called #RememberKhwezi was to raise awareness on the plight of rape in South Africa and to commemorate Khwezi 10 years since the court acquitted Zuma.
The four demonstrators carried placards reading; #IAmOneInThree to mark the rape stats in South Africa, 10 years later to mark the anniversary of the trial, Kanga – which is the African material Khwezi was allegedly wearing when the incident happened. Speaking to Eyewitness News one of the demonstrators Naledi Chirwa said they staged the protest because they believe Khwezi was telling the truth and let down by the justice system.