ANCWL applauds Khwezi for her bravery

The woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005 died on Saturday from an illness.

Four female EFF members holding placards in front of the stage as President Jacob Zuma delivers his address at the IEC national results centre in Pretoria. The placards refer to the woman named "Khwezi" who accused Zuma of rape in 2005. Picture: Masa Kekana/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress Women's League (ANCWL) has sent its condolences to the family of Fezekile Kuzwayo, the woman known as Khwezi, and have applauded her or her bravery in telling her story to the world.

The woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005 died on Saturday from an illness.

Zuma was acquitted of the rape charge in 2006.

The trial was recently brought back into the spotlight during the 2016 Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) local government election results announcement.

Four women held a silent protest using placards that read "10 years later", "kanga", "I am 1 in 3" and "remember Khwezi".

WATCH: Anti-rape protesters removed from IEC briefing

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.

The protest angered the ANCWL at the time with its president, Bathabile Dlamini, demanding answers from the IEC.

However, now the league's secretary general Meokgo Matuba says Kuzwayo was a strong woman who refused to be silenced.

"Khwezi said: This is what has happened to me as Khwezi and I will not keep quiet. Irrespective of her standing in society or irrespective of the leaders of the organisation, she was able to tell her story."


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 later returned to South Africa and settled in KwaZulu-Natal.