WATCH: New book gives 'Khwezi' back her agency


Redi Tlhabi's book, 'Khwezi: the remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo'.

Redi Tlhabi's book, 'Khwezi: the remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo'.



JOHANNESBURG - In August 2016, following the announcement of the results of South Africa’s heated municipal elections, four young women interrupted President Jacob Zuma’s victory address at the elections centre in Pretoria.

Theirs was a silent protest but it caused ripples across the country. They were bearing placards imploring South Africans to "Remember Khwezi".

They were forcibly removed by security guards, but the message hit home. 

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Even as Zuma was praising the ANC's performance, the public was taken back to 2006, when Zuma was charged with the rape of the woman who was known only as "Khwezi", to protect her identity. 

Following her death in October last year, her name was revealed: Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, the daughter of one of Zuma's close friends.

Before she died, award-winning journalist and former radio talk show host, Redi Tlhabi worked with Kuzwayo on a book about her life. 

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Khwezi: the remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (Jonathan Ball) reveals how as a young girl living in ANC camps in exile she was raped by the very men who were supposed to protect her; how as an adult she was driven once again into exile, suffering not only at the hands of Zuma’s devotees but under the harsh eye of the media.

In sensitive and considered prose, Tlhabi breathes life into a woman for so long forced to live in the shadows, giving agency back to Kuzwayo. 

Watch Karyn Maughan's full interview with Redi Tlhabi above.