Remembering Uncle Kathy

2017-03-29 16:24
Ahmed Kathrada.

Ahmed Kathrada. (Denzil Maregele)

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WATCH: Thuli Madonsela remembers Kathrada

2017-03-29 14:26

Former Public Protector, Advocate Thuli Madonsela says something we learned from Ahmed Kathrada is "you don't have to choose between being kind and being honest." Watch.WATCH

Tributes have poured in from Maritzburgers who knew struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada, who died on Tuesday.

Rabia Motala (84), wife of Dr Mahomed “Chota” Motala, said his death would leave “a big gap in our lives”.

“We’ve had a friendship from the 50s. From 1956 to 1961 he was with my husband throughout the trial. He even stayed with us in Boom Street. I’ll always remember him as part of the family,” she said.

“I hope that South Africa remembers him and all that he did for the country … he was only 35 when he went to jail and was there for 26 years.

“He was a humble person, down to earth and a close friend … I can’t describe what a wonderful person he was. We will miss him,” Motala said.

Motala’s home was one of three homes in Pietermaritzburg in the ’90s where politicians who visited from Johannesburg would meet.

Babu Baijoo, former speaker of the Msunduzi Municipality, told The Witness that his home and MPL Yusuf Bhamjee’s home were the other two “meeting venues”.

“It was an honour and privilege to have had Ahmed Kathrada in my home in Orient Heights. I am humbled to have met the man, and read his books,” said Baijoo.

“He is an icon for all of us. He had fantastic ethics and morals and was a great believer in the Freedom Charter,” he added.

Anant Singh, film producer and CEO of Videovision Entertainment, said that South Africa has lost a father and an inspirational leader among men. “In an interview I did with Kathy’s mentor, Ismail Meer, he said, ‘Kathy’s release from prison on 15 October, 1989 symbolised that nowhere in the world the human spirit could be destroyed by a tyrant or oppressor. He emerged unscathed and ready to serve his people.’ Kathy continued to do this each day of his life.

“We salute Kathy for his selfless leadership, his humanity, his quiet dignity and his commitment to the less fortunate people of our country and the world.”

Kathrada’s funeral will take place today at 10 am at the Westpark Cemetery, Beyers Naude Drive, Johannesburg. Members of the public are welcome to attend the funeral ceremony. The programme will include a political tribute session starting at 10 am organised by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

Former president of South Africa and board member of the Kathrada Foundation, Kgalema Motlanthe will speak at the event. Anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Sophie Williams-de Bruyn, a former Robben Island prisoner, and a family member will also address the mourners.

This will be followed by the ritual Muslim funeral prayer rites, which will commence at 11.30 am at the cemetery, followed by the final burial rites.

Condolence messages can be sent to

Special programmes

TO honour his memory, several channels on the DStv platform will be paying tribute to this great leader over the coming days.

“Ahmed Kathrada was undoubtedly one of our most respected struggle heroes — a man of honesty and unquestionable integrity. He leaves an extraordinary legacy and we’re humbled to play a small part in honouring him,” said Imtiaz Patel, CEO for Video Entertainment, Naspers.

DStv customers can find tributes on the following channels:

• kykNET will air the episode of Sandra op ’n Drafstap with a dedicated interview with Ahmed Kathrada, on Sunday at 8 pm — DStv channel 144.

• M-Net will air Carte Blanche, which will commemorate his life on Sunday at 7 pm — DStv channel 101 and 901 an hour later, available to all DStv Premium and M-Net analogue customers.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  ahmed kathrada

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