Kathrada was 'so wicked and so wonderful' - Ramaphosa

2017-03-28 16:09
Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File: AFP)

Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa. (File: AFP)

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Johannesburg  - Struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada's sense of humor was wicked and wonderful, Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters outside Kathrada's home in Killarney, Johannesburg, Ramaphosa said there was a side to Kathrada that many might not have known.

"My fond memory of Uncle Kathy is that he was so wicked and so wonderful," Ramaphosa said. 

"His popularity amongst celebrities, particularly movie stars was the type that would make many men envious," he said. 

Ramaphosa said Kathrada always managed to surround himself by "wonderful and beautiful" movie stars. 

"I am still trying to search what it is that Ahmed Kathrada had that got so many movie stars attracted to him - but I think I know what it is - it was his humility, his warm personality that attracted people to him. 

"They became attracted to him because he was the only person that was able to tell the stories of our struggle in the most gentle way and at the same time, telling the truth of our struggle."

Kathrada died in the early hours of Tuesday morning. 

He underwent surgery relating to a blood clot on the brain earlier this month but experienced several post-operative complications and contracted pneumonia in both lungs.

Ramaphosa said his passing was a huge loss for the country.

"[He] is another giant of our democracy and freedom who has departed. We all feel so hugely deprived by this man who has sacrificed (and) who gave so much.

Kathrada spent 26 years in prison

Ramaphosa said Kathrada gave his life out of sheer and selfless commitment.

He described him as a man who was humble and with integrity.

"Today we are in great sadness..we will always remember uncle Kathy, he is leaving a great legacy. We will try to emulate his commitment and examples."

Ramaphosa also added that he would remember Kathrada as a man who was fond of young people. 

Kathrada will be buried at the Westpark cemetery on Wednesday in accordance with Muslim funeral rituals, his foundation said.

The funeral will begin around 10:00 and include a tribute from former president and the foundation's board member, Kgalema Motlanthe, the foundation said in a statement on Tuesday.

Read more on:    cyril ­ramaphosa  |  ahmed kathrada
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