Khwezi...the story told

2018-08-05 07:31
Nompumelelo Mayiyane performs in Khwezi...Say My N

Johannesburg - The highly anticipated theatre production Khwezi … Say My Name opened to a full house last week at the SA State Theatre in Pretoria – many came dressed in black to remember Khwezi.

Multiple award-winning playwright and director Napo Masheane brings to life the story of Khwezi as told by acclaimed author Redi Tlhabi in her 2017 book Khwezi: The remarkable story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo.

Masheane said this might just be her most important work to date as it had a bigger purpose than being a mere play.

“Fezekile took on the most powerful man in the country; she took on power and we should learn from that. Power has a way of silencing women who’ve been abused, especially raped. There are many Khwezis out there, in silence, who have not yet said their real names out loud and found their voices,” said Masheane.

Fezekile’s identity had been hidden to protect her during the rape trial against former president Jacob Zuma and she became known as “Khwezi”.

(The Market theatre artistic director James Ngcobo. Photo: Rosetta Msimango)

Tlhabi said she was thrilled and overwhelmed to have her book honoured in this way. She said the play would help to ensure that Khwezi was not forgotten and praised Masheane for her bravery in tackling Khwezi’s life story.

“Fezekile was a person. She loved music, poetry and dancing and Napo has cemented that in this production. She is making sure her name is not forgotten. The more we speak about Fezekile, the more we say her name and make noise about her, the more people will listen and that is how change comes about.

“Her journey is being made accessible to people who wouldn’t otherwise pick up a book and read about her story.

“I met Napo, who is an astute professional, and she told me what she wanted to do. I saw her passion and completely trusted her with my work. She is very, very brave,” Tlhabi said.

Cast in the lead role of Fezekile is Nompumelelo Mayiyane, a graduate from the SA School of Motion Picture and Performance.

(Author Redi Tlhabi and Popo Masheane, director of Khwezi, get a chance to catch up. Photo: Rosetta Msimango)

She said the role was an enormous responsibility which she carries with respect as Fezekile’s story represents many people in South Africa.

“There’s a Khwezi in all of us. The Khwezis and Fezekiles live in our society today so the story will resonate with everyone, men and women. We’ve all gone through areas where we felt that injustices have occurred and where we experienced many traumas. [Fezekile] was a young girl who found herself in unfortunate circumstances and the law perhaps didn’t give her that justice. But through her story we hope there’s a level of justice to her life,” Mayiyane said.

The production is on in the Arena Theatre at the SA State Theatre until next Sunday. Tickets are available at

Read more on:    khwezi  |  musical publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.