'Khwezi' takes to the stage in July

Napo Masheane brings to life Fezekile ‘Khwezi’ Khuzwayo’s story as is told by Redi Tlhabi in her 2017 book ‘Khwezi’ at the State Theatre this month.

'Khwezi: the remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo' was published by Jonathan Ball Books. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG – The story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, who was known to many as ‘Khwezi’, will now be told as a stage production at the State Theatre in Pretoria this July.

Multi-award-winning playwright and director Napo Masheane has brought to life Kuzwayo’s story as is told by journalist, radio presenter and author Redi Tlhabi in her 2017 book Khwezi.

Titled, Khwezi… Say My Name the play tells the story of a young girl, Khwezi, who grew up in exile as part of a communal village of aunts and uncles who fought an evil system (apartheid).

In her quest to know her father, Judson Kuzwayo, and to preserve his political life’s story, Khwezi ends up in Forest Town, where she is sexually appropriated by her father’s former best friend, named in the book as Comrade-Malume Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.

In the musical play, Masheane uses theatre license of strong languages, powerful dance pieces choreographed by award-winning Luyanda Sidiya. She draws inspiration from piercing spiritual sound and music created by a brilliant, versatile and multitalented musician AZAH, who is the protégée of Dr Philip Tabane’s famous band Molombo.

While Tlhabi has expressed her support and well wishes for Masheane as the opening day draws closer, the director says there's still much to be told about the life and pain of Kuzwayo – who died in October 2016 at the age of 42.

“The play holds symbolic, provocative images and nostalgic visuals of the various rapes including that of Khwezi. But above all, I have tried to hold dear the memory, the essence and feeling of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo as narrated by Redi Tlhabi and those who have witnessed her pain, as well as her moving deep scars. Khwezi indeed and truly represents many of us (even some of us who are yet to tell our stories of rape out loud),” urges Masheane.

_Khwezi _will show from 25 July to 12 August at the South African State Theatre.