President Zuma “the rapist” silent protest
On Saturday evening, as the outcome of the municipal elections were finalised, President Jacob Zuma addressed a room of media and political party representatives at the IEC results centre. As he took to the podium, four women dressed in black staged a silent protest holding up signs that read ‘1in3, #, 10 years later, khanga, and Remember Khwezi’.
Khwezi is the pseudonym of the woman who accused Zuma of rape in 2005. After a long trial which made headlines when it was revealed that Khwezi is HIV positive and that the president took a shower after the incident as a preventive measure, Zuma was found not guilty. After the trial, Khwezi and her mother relocated to the Netherlands as a result of the threatening, slut-shaming, and victim-blaming reactions to her accusation.
The protestors, four EFF party members, wished to draw attention to the 10 year anniversary of Khwezi’s rape trial, and to the fact that women in South Africa face similar fates every day.
Shortly after the protest – which was dissolved by security men – the hashtag #1in3 began to trend on Twitter. South African women tweeted their experiences of sexual assault and rape, showing how pervasive the act has become, and heartbreakingly giving life to the statistic that 1 in 3 women have been raped in South Africa.