FOA: News Editors and News Wires
For Immediate Release
12 October 2016
Imbeleko Mourns the Passing of Fezekile ‘Khwezi’ Ntsukela Kuzwayo; A Courageous Woman Who Was Abused and Failed By Those in Power
IMBELEKO (AZAPO Women’s Wing) joins the Kuzwayo family in mourning the loss of their beloved daughter; Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo also known as “Khwezi”.
Before she took her final breath on the 08th of October 2016 at the age of 31, Fezekile had already lost her life and the remainder of her youth as a result of how South Africa’s justice system let the accused off the hook of the rape charges brought against him in 2005.
It did not help that the accused was a powerful politician, the South African President, Mr Jacob Zuma, who was the then country’s Deputy President at the time of the alleged rape incident. Political structures of the ruling party were soon mobilised against her. Night vigils and mass rallies were organised at the court appearances of the accused as a platform to publicly abuse, accuse and vilify her.
Political leaders who conspired against her and insulted her publicly, have only recently conveniently “apologised” to her via the media. The dreadful cut of all was the failure of the ANC Women’s League to support her. Sadly, it was a victory to patriarchy that a women’s organisation chose to support the abuse and vilification of a black woman under siege.
We call on the world to remember how Fezekile’s family was harassed and their home set alight to an extent that they had to seek asylum in distant lands during the time of freedom and democracy. It is during that time in 2012 that AZAPO and IMBELEKO embarked on a campaign to #BringKhweziHome.
It pains IMBELEKO to learn that Fezekile had to return secretly to her country of birth and remain anonymous. The fact that the media gave her a convenient
name “Khwezi”; and the fact that the public never got to see her face, are testimonies of her forced anonymity.
For IMBELEKO the issue was not just the alleged rape, but more the fact that an old man entrusted with the care of a child could have sex with her. We are of the view that an act of that nature amounted to incest. It is only in South Africa that such an immoral act can have no effect to perpetrators holding public office.
However, IMBELEKO celebrates the courage and endurance shown by this fearless soul, who stood her ground against all odds. It is a sad reality that many rape victims suffer in silence and eventually die in silence and in anonymity. What Fezekile displayed was nothing short of revolutionary courage.
IMBELEKO urges all women and all victims of abuse, torture and injustice to draw lessons from her resolve and break the silence.
For many years our country and the world had forgotten about Fezekile and her plight. In fact, society had forgotten about many black women whose stories still remain untold. We have allowed ourselves to be consumed by the normalcy of being failed by a state where victims become mere statistics.
Khwezi’s death reminds us that even when hope has escaped us, we should remain strong, steadfast and wage a relentless war against unlawful supremacy and dominance.
IMBELEKO urges the Black society to rise against patriarchy and abuse of power against women towards building a South Africa with a human face, as Steve Biko once urged us.
In Fezekile’s honour we take the following to heart:
“My world is a world where fathers protect and don’t rape
My world is a world where a woman can speak out
Without fear for her safety
My world is a world where no one, but no one is above the law
My world is a world where sex is pleasurable not painful”
(Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo).
May your soul find eternal rest; may you lead us in spirit to forge your ideal world. Lala Ngoxolo Kuzwayo, Gumede, Qwabe!
Issued by IMBELEKO Communications Desk
Head of Communications
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