KHWEZI, the latest production by multiple award-winning playwright and director, Napo Masheane, explores one of the most controversial incidents to divide South Africa and is set to re-ignite debate on the current rape crisis.
Inspired by true events, “Say My Name” tells the story of a young girl, Khwezi who grew up in exile, returned into the country where she reported she had been raped by a future president and would later be forced into exile in the final years of her life.
Jacob Zuma was accused of raping her but was acquitted.
JT Medupe, the former Isidingo, Rockville and Generations-The Legacy, actor, plays Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma in the play set for July 25 until August 12.
In the musical play, Masheane uses theatre license of strong languages, powerful dance pieces choreographed by award-winning Luyanda Sidiya.
Masheane said while the trial of Zuma happened over a decade ago, she is at pains as South Africa continued to be in the headlines for gruesome killings and rape of women in the country.
“Through the rape trial the audience becomes part of Khwezi’s court case against one of the most powerful men in South Africa,” she told CAJ News.
“We are reminded that she was not just a body, metaphor or a face. Not a battleground or ripples of horror. But that she had a real name: Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo.”
Masheane said the play holds symbolic, provocative images and nostalgic visuals of the various (alleged) rapes including that of Khwezi.
“But above all I have tried to hold dear the memory, the essence and feeling of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo as narrated by Redi Tlhabi (author and presenter) and those who have witnessed her pain, as well as her moving deep scars.”
Masheane references recent cases like Karabo Mokoena , Franziska Blochliger , Thembisile Yende among victicms of gender violence recently.
“Say My Name” is a collaboration between the South African State Theatre and Village Gossip Productions.
Masheane is popular for previous shows like “My Bum is Genetic Deal With It” and “The Fat Black Women Sing.”
She is also the first black woman to write, produce and direct a play (“A New Song”) at the Market Theatre Main’s stage.
Masheane is a former Deputy Artistic Director of the State Theatre.
– CAJ News