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#Khwezi Protesters speak out

The young female activist, Naledi Chirwa, a Masters student from the University of Pretoria, is upset over the hypocrisy of women in leadership. After Chirwa and three other woman silently protested against President Jacob Zuma at the IEC results center on Saturday.

Pretoria- “They say we humiliated the president and breached security; the only person humiliated is Khwezi,” said, the University of Pretoria Masters student, Naledi Chirwa. Both men and women grabbed us, shoved us and used the most foul language to us,” she said.

Referring to Women’s Day she said: “Tomorrow they will be singing wathint’ abafazi wathint’ imbokodo (you strike the women, you strike the rock), yet they touched and violated us in front of everyone.”

“When Khwezi was raped, I was 13 and had no idea what was happening. But as I grew up and became the 1 in 3, I realised truth had to be spoken.” Chirwa said.

The 23-year-old held up a piece of paper on which was written “Khanga” while the president was speaking live on television after the declaration of the local government elections.

She was referring to the alleged rape of the woman by Zuma, and the campaign which gives women a chance to talk about rape and other issues.

She and three others, who held up placards reading “I am one in 3” and “Remember Khwezi” and “10 years later”, were hustled out of the room by what is believed to be the president’s security detail.

This came when they heard Zuma would be in attendance at the announcement of the results, but it was not linked to the party.

She said that, she and the other three women who participated did not know each other, beyond that they were all feminists and had been part of the #1in9 campaign which marked 10 years since Zuma’s rape trial.

He was found not guilty, but the victim – known only as Khwezi, a name given to her to protect her identity – fled the country.

She was said to have wrapped a khanga around her at the time of the assault.

Referring to the reaction of ANC Women’s League president Bathabile Dlamini, among others, Chirwa said it was a shame women leaders had spoken out against their action.