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Mandela, Kathrada honoured

2009-10-07 08:20

Johannesburg - Those who were tortured and assassinated during the apartheid era should be the ones being honoured, struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada said on Tuesday.

He was speaking after receiving an award by the Constitution Hill Trust in Braamfontein.

Former President Nelson Mandela was the other recipient of the award, which was accepted by his daughter, Zinzi.

"Enough has been said about prison, but we should think of people who did not survive," said Kathrada.

"We should honour those people who were tortured to death in prison like Steve Biko... people who were hanged, those who were assassinated like Chris Hani and Joe Slovo."

'Safe'


Kathrada said although people like Mandela and himself suffered in prison, they were safe.

"No officer could come into prison and fire at us. We were safe, but others were not so lucky," he said.

He dedicated his award to the people who did not enjoy "the fruits of democracy".

Businessman Cyril Ramaphosa presented Zinzi with her father's award saying South Africa was blessed to have him.

"We in this country have been over-blessed to have had outstanding leaders, in the eyes of our people and in the eyes of the world."

He said if Mandela had not been imprisoned, he would have been a target for assassination.

Prison saved Mandela's life

"What would the apartheid rulers have done to Mandela. If he had not gone to prison he would have been target number one."

Ramaphosa thanked former Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson for sending Mandela to jail because it saved his life.

"In a good way Arthur maybe you did a great job."

He also noted that he had never met anyone who was prepared to die for an idea.

"We want to thank him for the sacrifice he made and the ultimate sacrifice he was prepared to make," Ramaphosa said.

He said Mandela led South Africa out of a deep oppression and in many ways it was like "we were walking with history".