Nation mourns UNCLE KATHY’S death

2017-04-06 06:02
ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada Photo: sourced

ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada Photo: sourced

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TRIBUTES continue to pour in for the late ANC anti-apartheid struggle veteran Amhed Kathrada (87) after he died on March 28.

Kathrada died at the Donald Gordon Hospital in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning following brain surgery.

ANC branch executive committee in Tongaat sent condolences to the Kathrada family.

Secretary Maxwell Ndunge said: “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our great iconic leader, the selfless leader and freedom fighter comrade Kathrada. It is great loss to the ANC, the country as a whole more especially to his family, friends and relatives. As the branch leadership of the ANC in Tongaat we are reaffirming our position of non-racial, united and democratic society. His legacy will remain alive.”

Principal of Victoria Primary Lajeeth Maharaj said: “On behalf of the Billy Nair education desk, I express a deep sense of sadness at the great loss of this giant of man. The Billy Nair education desk was privileged to have had the opportunity to confer on Kathrada the Inaugural Billy Nair Humanitarian award for selfless service to humanity.

“This was an honour that will motivate us to always serve our people without any expectation of a reward. The pupils in our schools in the Billy Nair circuit also presented him with a collection of poems letters and artworks at the Shree Veeraboga Emperumal Temple centenary celebrations.

“We will always be motivated by his elevated sense of high integrity and impeccable high moral values that seem to be lacking in people who are in positions of power where corruption and a lack of integrity seems to be the order of the day. All schools in the circuit had special assemblies as a mark of respect to this great icon.”

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said in a media statement Kathrada was such an inspirational to millions of people around the world.

Executive Director Neeshan Balton said in a media statement: “Comrade Kathy was a gentle, humane and humble soul. He was a determined revolutionary who gave his entire life to the liberation struggle in our country.” Balton said Kathrada’s departure is a great loss to the broader liberation movement and South Africa.

Kathrada’s fellow Robben Island prisoner, Laloo Chiba (86) said in a statement: “I have worked with Kathy for over 60 years. He has been my strength in prison, my guide in political life and mu pillar of strength in the most difficult moments of my life. Now he is gone.”

Kathrada was born on August 21, 1929 in Schweizer-Reneke and was introduced to politics at an early age when he joined a non-racial youth club run by the Young Communist League.

He was also the parliamentary counsellor for the late president Nelson Mandela. In 1952 Kathrada was in a group of 20 people, including Mandela and Walter Sisulu, who were sentenced to nine months in prison with hard labour.

They were suspended for two years for organising the defiance campaign against six apartheid laws. The campaign was jointly organised by the ANC and SA Indian Congress.

The foundation said in 1954 Kathrada was placed under restrictions by apartheid security police and was arrested several times for breaking his banning orders.

In 1956 he was among the 156 congress activists and leaders charged for high treason. The trial continued for four years after which all the accused were acquitted. Kathrada, Mandela and Sisulu were among the last 30 to be acquitted.

In 1954, Kathrada was placed under restrictions by apartheid security police and was arrested several times for breaking his banning orders. In 1956, he was among the 156 Congress activists and leaders charged for High Treason. The trial continued for four years after which all the accused were acquitted. Kathrada, Mandela and Sisulu were among the last 30 to be acquitted.

He spent 26 years and three months in prison, 18 of which were on Robben Island. He was released on October 15, 1989 and the ANC was unbanned. In 2008 the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation was launched with the aim of deepening non-racialism.

The foundation’s work includes promoting constitutional ideals and human rights, young leadership and development, challenging racism and preserving and promoting liberation history.

Kathrada was buried according to Muslim religious rights, details of which will be made publicly available in due course.

The funeral service was held yesterday, March 29 at West Park Cemetery in Johannesburg.


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