ZEPH KESWA – 1937 – 4th June 2020 (RIP)

It is with deep regret that we at Project Gateway record the death of Zeph Keswa.   Zeph passed away at this home in Frans township, Pietermaritzburg on 4th June 2020.  Members of the senior management had seen and spoken to Zeph a few weeks before his death,  as he arrived at Project Gateway asking for help with accessing his Social Grant from the Government.  He had come into town to draw his Social Grant only to find it was not available.  Project Gateway as able to help with funds and food and he went home a very happy man.

Zeph worked at Project Gateway for over 20 years.  Dominee Piet Dreyer “employed” Zeph in the very early days of Project Gateway as a maintenance helper.  He subsequently rose to the position of running the Sunset Overnight Shelter for the homeless people of our city.  He did this until his retirement in 2015. He kept in touch with Pastor Jabu on a regular basis and was well loved by all at Gateway who worked with him.

Zeph has an amazing history with our prison and in SA generally.  Zeph was imprisoned in our prison in 1964 for a minor motor car accident he was involved with in Edendale.  He was imprisoned in the Burger Street prison and left there for more than 6 months without trial.  While there he was  intimidated by a Prison Warder who constantly told him that he (the prison warder) was having a wonderful time with Zeph’s wife.  There was no trial date set and after many months Zeph escaped by jumping over the walls of the prison.    He eventually shot and killed the Prison warder near Plessislaer  in the Edendale area.  He then he fled for his life.  He ended up living in a remote area around Dundee for many months until he was eventually caught by the police.  He was brought back to our prison and eventually tried in College Rd Supreme Court.  He was sentenced to life imprisonment and was transferred to Barberton max-security prison.  He served 27 years in jail.  He was eventually transferred back to Pietermaritzburg Prison after Nelson Mandela was released from Prison in 1992.  Zeph could be released on condition that he was given employment.  Dominee Piet Dreyer agreed to take him on as a maintenance assistant.

He worked tirelessly for over 20 years and often went beyond the boundaries of his job description.  He was a great help to anyone in need.

Rest in Peace dear Zeph.  We know you are safe in the arms of Jesus.