Ahmed Kathrada dies at 87

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation has announced that ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada (87) passed away this morning, at the Donald Gordon Hospital in Johannesburg.

According to the foundation, Kathrada passed away peacefully after a short period of illness, following surgery to the brain.

Neeshan Balton, executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, confirmed that the anti-apartheid struggle veteran ‘breathed his last today’.

“This is great loss to the ANC, the broader liberation movement and South Africa as a whole. Internationally, he was staunch in his support for the Palestinian struggle. ‘Kathy’ was an inspiration to millions in different parts of the world,” said Balton.

Last night, the foundation announced that he was in a serious condition. Click here to read more.

Kathrada Foundation chairperson, Derek Hanekom, was overcome with emotion saying he has lost a “revolutionary mentor and dear friend”.

“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,” he added.

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

Fellow Robben Island prisoner, Laloo ‘Isu’ Chiba (86) said that his comrade’s death has left a deep vacuum in his life.

“I have worked with Kathy for over 60 years. He has been my strength in prison, my guide in political life and my pillar of strength in the most difficult moments of my life. Now he is gone,” said a visibly shaken Chiba.

Kathrada had an illustrious political career having served between 1994 and 1999 as the parliamentary counsellor to late President Nelson Mandela.

He was born on 21 August 1929 in rural Schweizer-Reneke and was introduced to politics as a young boy when he joined a non-racial youth club run by the Young Communist League.

 

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