“I need therapy, peace, and happy pills,” was Khwezi’s last message to a close friend just before she passed away.
Speaking more from her sickbed in Johannesburg via a text message, Khwezi assured her friend she would defeat her illness and would return to her home in Durban soon. But sadly, she was swallowed up by the illness that held her down since two decades.
Khwezi, whose real name is Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo was buried on Saturday after she succumbed to her illness last week.
During the service, which held at the Central City Methodist Church in Durban, women sang “Down with Jacob Zuma, down. Down with patriarchy.”
Honouring the 42-year-old, a member of the Positive Women’s Network, Prudence Mabele slammed President Jacob Zuma saying that as long as she is concerned “Zuma does not exist”.
Mabele admitted that “So many things were said, so many things happened and so many lies were told” about the rape incidence. She pleaded with the crowd to continue to remember the young woman as “Fezeka Kuzwayo” and not “Khwezi”.
Another speaker, Khwezilomso Mbandaza said Khwezi is no longer nameless or faceless now because “she is free”.
“We could not talk about her, share pictures on social media. We could not share her life and achievements with the world because she had to hide, but she is free and so are we,” Mbandaza said.
While the service lasted, many speakers described Kuwazyo as a loving, carefree, intelligent and joyful woman. She was privately buried at Stellawood Cemetery in Durban.
Prior to her death, Khwezi was diagnosed with HIV/Aids in 1990. She later became an Aids activist, and because of her determination to de-stigmatize the disease, she refused to take anti-retroviral drugs.
In the past years, Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo had suffered from various illnesses including developing boils from head to toe, difficulty in breathing, and a pain in one of her legs that kept her immobile.
Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo And Zuma Rape Saga
She made headlines after she accused then deputy president Jacob Zuma of raping a decade ago. In 2005, Zuma was charged with rape after an investigation into the allegation found that he slept with the then 31-year-old woman at his home in Johannesburg. Zuma was later acquitted of the charge in May 2006 by the Johannesburg High Court.
Thereafter, she fled South Africa for Netherlands and Tanzania with her mother Beauty after many death threats. They returned to South Africa four years ago.
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Khwezi is survived by her mother Beauty Sibongile Khuzwayo; her sisters Zinhle Khuzwayo and Nondwe Phosa; her aunt Cordelia Khumalo; and her niece Nokuzola Mbalenthle Khuzwayo.
Her father Judson Diza Kuzwayo was an anti-apartheid activist who died in exile in Mozambique.
As a speaker rightly said, Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo is no longer faceless. Here’s the HIV activist, whose face and names remained veiled until the time of her death.