Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (Khwezi)

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People category:

Biographical information

Synopsis:

Daughter, activist, poet, victim

First name: 
Fezekile
Middle name: 
Ntsukela
Last name: 
Kuzwayo
Date of birth: 
1974
Date of death: 
8 October 2016

There's still much not known publicly about Fezekile Kuzwayo. Unfortunately the event that she is best known for is the Jacob Zuma rape case. It is from the secrecy of the trial that she was named Kwhezi or accuser x. Her family spent much of her early life in exile. Her father, Judson Khuzwayo, was the Chief Representative of the African National Congress in Zimbabwe. He died on 1 May 1985 when his car overturned while driving to Lusaka. 

Fezekile claimed to have been abused and raped by ANC members starting at the age of five when she was in Swaziland. While this claim never went to a court of law it is alleged that two ANC members were docked six months pay for raping her.

She matriculated from Phambili High School, Durban in 1992 but did not receive high marks. This lack of academic achievement would occur several times in her life. 

On 2 November 2005 she was at the Johannesburg home of Jacob Zuma who she in her own words considered a family friend, father figure and uncle. They had sex. 

On 4 November 2005 she phoned Ronnie Kasrils. Kasrils and Zuma had stayed Fezekile’s family home in Swaziland while hiding from the Apartheid forces. Kasrils considered her to be their cute little niece. He recalled that she said seven words that shattered him, “Uncle Ronnie, Jacob Zuma has raped me.”

Zuma was officially charged on 6 December 2005 and was on 8 May 2006 the case was dismissed. In the period of the trial Fezekile was called a bitch by the ANCWL, threatened by the ANCYL and SACP, spat upon by the Zuma supporters outside the courthouse, her and her mother’s house was burnt down and the mob outside the courthouse threw rocks at a woman who they suspected was her. 

She was devastated by the trial and the outcome as well as being a pariah for reporting Jacob Zuma for rape. With the assistance of family friends she and her mother fled to the Netherlands. Before they had to leave South Africa as they were part of a struggle against an inhumane ruthless system of government that the United Nations has declared to be a human rights violation. This time they fled because Jacob Zuma wanted to and had had sex with the daughter.

While in the Netherlands Fezekile wrote an extremely powerful poem that she showcased called “I am Khanga”.  Her and her mother are believed to have left the Netherlands for Tanzania and then returned to South Africa in 2011. 

Her death saw an outpouring of soul-searching and the ANCWL even released a statement mourning her death. There was no apology attached to the statement. The president of the country and the president’s office made no comment on her passing.

Last updated : 20-Oct-2016

This article was produced for South African History Online on 17-Oct-2016