Khwezi enjoyed it – the words that haunt Malema

The article below appeared in The Citizen, 9 August 2016

The Sonke Gender Justice sent a reminder on Twitter to EFF leader Julius Malema about his controversial remarks in relation to the decade-old rape case between President Jacob Zuma and a woman known to the public as Khwezi.

Malema, at the time the president of the ANC Youth League, when he was still “prepared to kill for Zuma”, claimed that in his opinion a woman who had not enjoyed a night of sex normally wakes up and leaves early in the morning.

He said the HIV-positive Khwezi had a “nice time” and “enjoyed it” with the president.

“When a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast and ask for taxi money,” said Malema while addressing 150 Cape Peninsula University of Technology students in 2009.

“In the morning, that lady requested breakfast and taxi money,” Malema added to a cheering audience.

Malema has, however, changed his stance on almost all his earlier views on Zuma, and is today his most outspoken and regular critic.

The Sonke Gender Justice Network filed a complaint at the Equality Court in Johannesburg against Malema for his remarks in defence of Zuma. Sonke’s case alleged hate speech, unfair discrimination and harassment of women, and was only the second high-profile gender equality case to be taken to the Equality Courts since inception in 2003.

Zuma was acquitted of the rape charge against Khwezi in 2006. He infamously told the court that he had unprotected sex with the woman, then took a shower afterwards, hence earning the oft-used moniker “shower head”.

However, the women who staged a silent protest against Zuma at the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) results centre on Saturday believed that an acquittal did not necessarily mean Zuma was innocent – only that evidence against him had proved insufficient. The protesting women said they believed Khwezi and stood with her still. This was also seconded by national chairperson of the EFF Dali Mpofu, who argued that “to be acquitted means the court found you not guilty. This does not mean innocent.”

When challenged by a Twitter user over whether the women should not rather have been protesting against Malema for his old comments, Mpofu said it was a free country and people could do what they wanted.

He added that it was patronising to say that the four women were “sent by Malema”, as some have alleged, saying women can think for themselves. “Maybe they should… It’s a free country… It’s false and patronising to assume they listened to anybody. Women can think!” said Mpofu.

The advocate also said that, had the women protested against Malema, ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini would have acted differently. “If the four women protesters had displayed “Down with Malema”/“To Hell with EFF”… Imagine the level of praise by Bathabile, Nomvula & Ginger!”

Dlamini had said she was appalled by the protest and demanded an apology from IEC chairperson Glen Mashinini.

The four women were forcefully marched of of the IEC results centre after staging the silent protest.

Khwezi later said through a spokesperson that she had truly appreciated the silent protest.