As part of our January Conversation Issue, The JRB published an essay titled ‘Kanga and Khwezi: Kwezilomso Mbandazayo challenges the memorialisation of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo‘.
In the piece, Mbandazayo reflects on The Kanga and the Kangaroo Court: Reflections on the Rape Trial of Jacob Zuma by Mmatshilo Motsei and Khwezi: The Remarkable Story of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo by Redi Tlhabi; two books published a decade apart that deal with the life of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, the woman known as ‘Khwezi’, who accused Jacob Zuma of rape in 2005.
To accompany the piece, which has received significant attention, The JRB Photo Editor Victor Dlamini has shared the podcast of an interview he conducted with Motsei in 2007, the year The Kanga and the Kangaroo Court was published.
‘In her writing Mmatshilo never fails to stir the heart,’ Dlamini says. ‘She speaks her mind—often in the gentlest of tones, but such is the power of her words that they leave a lasting impression on those who hear them.’
Dlamini met with Motsei to talk about her book in her Pretoria home—’with its beautiful, lush gardens’—and he says: ‘The setting and the subject matter could not have made for a starker contrast in that moment.’
At the time of the interview, Dlamini wrote: ‘Mmatshilo wears her many roles with charming elegance. She is at once a poet, a public speaker, a creative strategist, a gender and peace activist, a trainer, a healer, a rural development practitioner and a writer.
‘In her work, she fosters the understanding that art can bring individuals nearer to healing—especially when it comes to the healing of mental wounds. A deeply spiritual person, Mmatshilo trained as a nurse, practicing in the role of healer for a long time before responding fully to a deeper call—the call to embrace and research the regenerative powers of specifically African healing conventions.’
During the conversation, Mmatshilo also gives a reading of her poem ‘In the Bosom of the Goddess’.
Listen to the conversation here: