Journalist and author Redi Tlhabi sparked a social media debate on Tuesday after responding to a social media user who questioned the possibility of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo having lied about being raped by former president Jacob Zuma.
Tlhabi’s response has led her critics to point out that she may have inadvertently discredited her entire book on Kuzwayo, since she appeared to still be open to the idea that Kuzwayo had lied about her rape.
Tlhabi commented on a two-page apology letter shared on social media yesterday by a user with Twitter username @TinahMahiloane – who claimed she was the woman who accused Country Duty’s Tumi Sole of raping her and infecting her with HIV earlier this month in a Durban hotel room.
The woman apologised for the “false accusations” against Sole.
In response to the letter, Tlhabi said: “Vile. Absolutely vile. You are apologising because you got a legal instruction to do so. Many people say ‘ignore trolls’..yes trolls should be ignored but smart, calculating dangerous, scheming liars should not. When people stare you down, you whither [sic] like pathetic little cowards.”
Most of her followers agreed with her sentiments on the letter, with one Twitter user Zalene bringing Khwezi into the debate.
“This is interesting! What if Khwezi lied as well?” asked @zanele75689545.
“I have considered this point. If Fezekile lied, it does NOT remove Zuma’s responsibility to his late friend’s daughter. Do YOU covet your friend’s children? Okay,” was Tlhabi’s response, sparking a debate from social media users who criticised her for her response.
Khwezi and Redi have been trending since, with some defending her statement and others arguing she should not have structured her response in that manner.
Khwezi accused Zuma of raping her in 2005, a charged he was acquitted of in 2006.
Tlhabi wrote a book Khwezi – The Remarkable Story Of Fezekile Ntsukela Kuzwayo, which looked at the life of Kuzwayo and the issue of the alleged rape and other child rape that took place in the ANC training camps in the 1980s.