Kathrada 'a beloved comrade, father and friend' - Ramaphosa

2017-03-28 14:12
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Leon Sadiki, City Press)

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Johannesburg – Ahmed Kathrada’s life should be celebrated as a life that was lived in the service of humanity, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

"As we prepare to lay his mortal remains to rest, we are reminded of our solemn duty to live by his example and to complete his work," he said in a statement released shortly after visiting the stalwart’s home in Killarney.

Ramaphosa had visited Kathrada’s long-term partner Barbara Hogan at their home, hours after South Africans learnt that the 87-year-old stalwart had succumbed to pneumonia following a recent operation, at the Donald Gordon hospital.

Kathrada died at 03:45 after a short illness he contracted after undergoing an operation to remove a blood clot from his brain earlier this month.

"It was with a profound sense of loss that I learned of the passing this morning of... a beloved comrade, father and friend.

"Kathy will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched and enriched."

Continued serving the people

Ramaphosa described Kathrada as a warm, courageous, compassionate and resolute person.

He would be remembered as an unassuming freedom fighter whose wisdom, tolerance, humility, steadfastness and humour earned him the love and respect of all South Africans, Ramaphosa said.

"After his release from prison, after the achievement of democracy and the adoption of a new democratic Constitution, even as others contemplated retirement, Kathy was determined to continue to serve the people.

"The establishment of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation was born out of his conviction that he could not rest for as long as the people of this country were not free from want, hunger and ignorance."

WATCH: Ramaphosa: Kathrada was humble and 'honest to his core' 

Ramaphosa said the work done at the foundation would cement the stalwart’s legacy.

His dedication to the development of a new generation of young leaders would ensure that his impact on the development of a new, better society would endure for years to come.

Sacrificed most of his life

"I join the people of South Africa – and friends from across the world – in extending my deepest sympathies to his wife, Barbara, and his family, friends and comrades.

"Your love and support sustained him through a lifetime of service, sacrifice and struggle," Ramaphosa said.

Earlier, former president Kgalema Motlanthe, who also sits on the foundation’s board, said Kathrada had sacrificed most of his youthful and adult life, "unmindful of the consequences to himself".

He never faltered as a liberation fighter on all the political platforms he was part of, Motlanthe said.

"This made him a special South African and one of those rare human beings who belong to the South African and African political pantheon.

"He will forever remain in our hearts. The ANC will miss him, as will South Africa, Africa and the world.

"Go well comrade Kathy! Yours was a life well lived!!! It was an ode to the very notion of being human!" Motlanthe said.

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  ahmed kathrada  |  johannesburg

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