The Rivonia trialists still standing

2017-04-02 07:44
Andrew Mlangeni

Andrew Mlangeni

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

I knew Ahmed Kathrada as a man who had a heart that never grew tired of noble pursuits. He was one of the youngest and brightest stars in our struggle; one that ceaselessly shone and never lost focus through it all.

He dedicated seven decades of a lifetime to us until he breathed his last on Tuesday.

Kathrada derived wisdom at the knee of his mentor and Transvaal Indian Congress leader Dr Yusuf Dadoo, and was thus placed within reach of ANC leaders, including Walter Sisulu, Nelson Mandela and Oliver Tambo, who was my former teacher.

By force of circumstance and the shared vision that fired up our generation with a dream of a better South Africa, our paths were bound to cross, albeit not without the consequence that took 26 years from our lifetimes.

Then came the Sharpeville Massacre and the state of emergency, which drew the final curtain on nonviolence as an option. The futility of peaceful activism came to the fore. I was one of the first six sent to China for military training in 1961.

Upon my return, the armed struggle was torpedoed by the arrest of the entire leadership of Umkhonto we Sizwe at Liliesleaf Farm.

Shortly thereafter came the next wave of arrests – Arthur Goldreich, James Kantor, Denis Goldberg, Harold Wolpe and Elias Motsoaledi. And I was also arrested.

In prison, Kathrada never stopped reminding us of the awkward excruciating truth that our incarceration placed us in relative safety compared with those outside, who were facing daily harassment, torture, apartheid killing machines and death squads.

He was unshakeable, an exemplary diligent leader in a journey to deepen nonracialism.

His fervent belief in the youth and the deepening of nonracialism is the source behind the establishment of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, which he led with unpretentious honesty, which explains what is these days described as speaking truth to power.

The most fitting tribute to bestow upon Kathrada is to continue to abide by the values of common humanity that his foundation champions.

His ethical leadership is a testimony of a life well lived. I give my heartfelt condolences to his family. His honesty was a shining example of lived experience.

The family should take comfort in the thought that this pain is not only shared with the movement that he so selflessly served, but also with all progressive forces worldwide.

You will always be on my mind, big brother and comrade.

Read more on:    ahmed kathrada

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.