Family to remember Khwezi as 'vibrant & loving daughter'

Fezekile Khuzwayo, who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005, passed away at the weekend.

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 family of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, the woman known as Khwezi, says she will be remembered as a vibrant and loving daughter, saying her death came as a shock to the family.

The family says Kuzwayo died on Saturday from an illness. Kuzwayo was the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005.

In 2006 the president was acquitted of the charge.

When Zuma addressed the Independent Electoral Commission's results announcement of the 2016 local government elections, the case was brought back to the world's attention by four women wearing black in a silent protest, holding placards that read "10 years later" and "Remember Khwezi".

WATCH: Women stage silent protest against Zuma at IEC briefing

The Kuzwayo family's spokesperson Bunie Matlanyane-Sexwale says Khwezi's death came as a shock.

"It's very shocking losing a young person and a mother, we were very close. So it's like one twin leaving the other behind."

She says Khwezi will be remembered as someone who always made the family laugh.

"Vibrant and loving daughter. When we wipe our tears we'll be laughing about her jokes."

When Khwezi accused Zuma of rape in 2005, the president denied the claims, saying he had consensual sex with the HIV-positive woman at his Johannesburg home and said he later took a shower.

In May 2006 the president was cleared of rape, with the judge ruling that the encounter was consensual.


When the woman then known as Khwezi first came into court, she was surrounded by members of the Scorpions Unit and completely covered from head to toe, so no one could identify her.

The court's public gallery was cleared and only those involved with the case and reporters were allowed to stay.

In court she was forced to explain exactly what happened about how she had known now Zuma since she was a child and about her relationship with him.

She explained how Zuma penetrated her and said: "I couldn't move, I couldn't talk, I couldn't do anything".

After she testified, Zuma's lawyers brought several men to testify about her sexual history and said she had been raped once as a little girl and twice as a teenager.


Former Intelligence Minister Ronnie Kasrils says he's saddened by the passing of Kuzwayo, saying she passed on at a time when she was getting her life back together.

Khwezi alerted Kasrils of the rape incident before opening a case.

Kasrils says Khwezi's passing is a tragedy

"It was a great shock. I feel very saddened, I think it's such a tragedy. She was just getting her life back together, a life that was devastated by all the abuse and insults."

He says he first met Khwezi when she was very young.

"She was absolutely a lovely young person, someone I really only knew in Swaziland back in 1980s when she was five/six/seven as a young school girl. Jacob Zuma, myself we'd stay with their family while in Swaziland."