- The family of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, the woman known as Khwezi, has described her passing as shocking, saying losing her at such a young makes it even more painful.
Kuzwayo passed away yesterday and is the woman who accused President Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005.
The following year Zuma was acquitted of the rape charge, which later forced her to live in exile after the trial.
In 1990 Khwezi was diagnosed with HIV and then became an Aids activist.
Zuma had infamously said that he had taken a shower after sex with Khwezi leading to debates about the then potential President’s views on the prevention of HIV/Aids.
When Khwezi accused President 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.
But during the trial, shocking revelations came to light.
Khwezi said when she went to bed wearing a wraparound cloth, Zuma came in her room and raped her.
In May 2006 the President was cleared of charge, with the judge ruling that the encounter was consensual.
Last month, when President Zuma addressed the Independent Electoral Commission’s results announcement, the case was brought back to the world attention by four women wearing black in a silent protest and holding placards that read “10 years later”, and “remember Khwezi”.
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In a statement, Kuzwayo’s family describe her as a loving soul, a daughter, sister and an aunt who will never be forgotten.