Book: Khwezi – The Remarkable Story Of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo
Author: Redi Tlhabi
Publisher: Jonathan Ball Publishers, 2017
Trigger Warning: Rape; Sexual Violence – not a peaceful read.
Khwezi is an unpleasantly fascinating story written to restore the name, dignity and identity of a young woman who went by the pseudonym “Khwezi”. Writer and radio host Redi Tlhabi’s book is an account of the life of President Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser, Fezekile Ntukela Kuzwayo. It details her childhood in exile with her parents in Swaziland and her second exile when she was forced to flee South Africa with her mother after the rape trial. Khwezi also includes excerpts from a diary Kuzwayo wrote while in a safe house during the trial.
Khwezi is an uncomfortable read, because not only does it highlight sexual violence in South Africa and especially among comrades in ANC camps in exile, but it also reveals unspoken apartheid-era abuses and tackles issues of power and masculinity. Not only was Kuzwayo betrayed by her own country when she was forced to leave South Africa immediately after the trial because of threats against her life, she was betrayed by her aunts from exile who tried to manipulate her to drop the charges. Kuzwayo died on October 8, 2016, after a long battle with HIV/AIDS.