The real Fezekile 'Khwezi' Kuzwayo as her family knew her

2016-10-15 19:10
Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (Amanda Khoza, News24)

Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo (Amanda Khoza, News24)

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Durban – Many have in the past tried to piece together the life of President Jacob Zuma's rape accuser, Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, but it was at her funeral service on Saturday that her family would reveal the real woman they knew.

Kuzwayo, 42, who went by the pseudonym "Khwezi", was remembered by about 200 close family and friends who paid tribute to her during an intimate private funeral service held at the Central Methodist Church in Durban.

Kuzwayo died after a long illness on October 8.

According to Kuzwayo's obituary, she was born on September 17, 1974 at the Poly Clinic in KwaMashu to Judson Diza Kuzwayo and Beauty Sibongile Kuzwayo and spent most of her childhood in the north Durban township before her family went into exile in Swaziland.

There she attended Malkerns Valley Primary School until her family relocated to Zimbabwe.

As the family continued to navigate other African countries, she would attend various other schools.
Like many families in the liberation struggle, the family lived an uncertain life.

Working in SA, then overseas

Towards the end of apartheid and at the dawn of democracy Kuzwayo and her mother, together with other families, returned to South Africa and she got a job at the Department of Home Affairs.

It was then that she got involved in HIV/Aids work and would later, in 1999, become active in the International Aids Conference in Durban.

Her work and contribution became noticed and between July 2002 and August 2003 she worked in the United Kingdom before returning home.

In 2005, Kuzwayo accused President Jacob Zuma of rape but he was later acquitted.

After the rape trial, that same year, it was decided for security reasons that it would be better for her and her mother to spend time out of the country.

With assistance, the two settled in Amsterdam.

In the Netherlands Kuzwayo worked as a consultant for Aidsfonds, KIT and Sharenet and did a course at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam.

Working with children

In 2010 Kuzwayo and her mother moved to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania where she worked as a librarian and a support teacher doing arts and drama activities with children at the Genesis School.

She then worked as a Grade Two teacher at Dar es Salaam International Academy for almost two years where she taught children gum-boot dancing.

She also sang in the Dar es Salaam Choral Society and volunteered at Nafasi Art Space.

The following year, while in Dar es Salaam, she joined the board of the One in Nine Campaign and remained a member.

When she returned to South Africa, she worked for the Tree Tops School and continued her studies in teaching and early childhood development.

’10 years later’

In August, a group of women interrupted President Jacob Zuma during his speech at the elections result centre in Pretoria. They held up placards that read "10 years later", "Remember Khwezi", "I am one in 3" and "Khanga".

It had been 10 years since the rape trial that took place when Kuzwayo was 31 years-old.

WATCH: Emotional send off for Fezekile Kuzwayo

According to the family Kuzwayo touched the lives of many in different parts of the world.
She always made friends and inspired others with her loving and energetic spirit.

She was known for her laughter, singing, dancing and her love of children.

Kuzwayo is survived by her mother and sisters Beauty and Zinhle Kuzwayo, Nondwe Phosa, aunt Cordelia Khumalo and niece Nokuzola Kuzwayo.

She was expected to be buried privately at the Stellawood Cemetery in Durban.

Read more on:    khwezi  |  jacob zuma  |  durban

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