BuzzSouthAfrica has confirmed the death of struggle icon, Ahmed Kathrada. He passed away this morning aged 87.
It was yesterday that reports emerged that the struggle stalwart health condition has deteriorated.
Undoubtedly, Ahmed Kathrada will always be remembered as a symbol of freedom and hope. Uncle Kathy as he was fondly called, spent 26 years in prison for resisting Apartheid.
Records traced Kathrada’s political career to 1941 when he joined the Young Communist League of South Africa at the age of 12. It’s known that Uncle Kathrada was one of those that masterminded the Campaign of Defiance against Unjust laws of 1952 which ignored and disrespected the rights of black South Africans.
Sometimes in July 1963 Ahmed Kathrada and other freedom fighters like Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba and others were arrested. Following their arrest, the infamous Rivonia Trial found them guilty of acts of treason and, Kathrada was sentenced to life imprisonment.
History has it that Ahmed Kathrada spent 26 years in prison for waging war against apartheid. He was freed on the 15th day of October 1989. Then, he was 60 years old.
When democracy triumphed in 1994, Uncle Kathrada was elected a member of parliament for the ANC. Also, he served as President Nelson Mandela’s Parliamentary Counsellor.
Reaction To Ahmed Kathrada’s Death
Reactions to Ahmed Kathrada’s death have affirmed the fact that he made an uncommon and heroic contribution to South Africa’s liberation struggle.
Let’s start with the President of the country who has declared a special official funeral for Uncle Kathrada. President Zuma gave an order for the National Flag to fly at half-mast at every station in the country from today, 28 March until the evening of the official memorial service of Ahmed Kathrada.
Mr Zuma sent his “deepest condolences” to Kathrada’s partner, the former minister of Public Enterprises Ms Barbara Hogan, the Kathrada family and the African National Congress.
Disclosing that Uncle Kathrada’s family requested for a private funeral ceremony, the Presidency informed that the details will be announced by the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.
Kathrada’s Family Won’t Let Zuma Speak At His Funeral
Meanwhile, it’s been reported that Kathrada’s family asked that President Zuma shouldn’t speak at his his funeral. It’s known that the struggle icon not long past, expressed dissatisfaction with the leadership of Jacob Zuma.
He made headline news when he wrote President Zuma a letter asking him to resign as the President of the country.
“Dear Comrade President,” Kathrada wrote, “don’t you think your continued stay as President will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?”
Nonetheless, an official memorial service will be organized and the details will be announced in due course. Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will lead the send-off of the much-loved stalwart within government, the Presidency added.
Reacting to the departure of the struggle icon, SA’s deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa said: “It was with a profound sense of loss that I learned of the passing this morning of Ahmed Kathrada, a beloved comrade, father and friend.
“A warm, courageous, compassionate and resolute person, Kathy will be missed by the many people whose lives he touched and enriched.
“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.”
ANC Mourns Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe
Uncle Kathy despite his displeasure with the leadership of the current leadership of ANC, was until his death, an ANC (African National Congress) comrade.
Mourning his departure, ACN specified that Comrade Kathy’s title as Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe is the highest honour that can be bestowed by the ANC and the people of South Africa on those who have made an outstanding contribution and sacrifice to the liberation struggle.
“With the passing of Comrade Kathy the nation has lost a titan, an outstanding leader and a great patriot – a man who stands apart for his service to the people of South Africa, and to the country.
“…His life is a lesson in humility, tolerance, resilience and a steadfast commitment to principle, even when taking a principled stance would place him at odds with his comrades.
“Uncle Kathy…never abandoned nor turned his back on the ANC and always affirmed that the ANC and the ANC alone was the only political organization that reflected the values and aspirations of all South Africans.
“Until his hospitalization Uncle Kathy was an active and vocal participant in the work of the elder statesmen of the ANC towards keeping our great revolutionary movement on course. His was a constant, steady and moral voice, and we are all the poorer to have lost him,” ANC mourned.
DA Pleads Ahmed Kathrada’s Legacy Lives On
On behalf of the Democratic Alliance party, Mmusi Maimane sent condolences to the family and loved ones of Kathrada pleading that the legacy of the struggle hero lives on.
“As a leader at the forefront of the struggle for liberation, Kathrada relentlessly fought for the freedoms we all cherish today.
“I fondly recall the many times I engaged with Uncle Kathy – most notably the conversation we had when he was bestowed with the Freedom of the City of Johannesburg.
“…He shared with me that for him freedom meant hearing the voices of children, indicating his sincere compassion, as well as his commitment to the future of our beautiful country.
“My hope and dream is for a South Africa in which we give life and meaning to the legacy of our fallen hero…by building a nation that truly bridges the divides which have for so long separated us from living united in our diversity,” expressed the DA leader.
EFF’s Revolutionary Condolences On Kathrada’s Passing
While the Economic Freedom Fighters expressed that they’re “immensely saddened” by the passing of the struggle stalwart, they charged South Africans to emulate the selflessness of Uncle Kathy.
“As a country, we must all learn from the selflessness of Uncle Kathy, always prioritizing the marginalized and ensuring that their voices are heard and respected.
“We must adopt an uncompromising posture at all times in the fight against corruption as he did. We must be prepared, as he did, to pay even with our lives and imprisonment if needs be as he did.”
With that, the Fighters indicated that they are standing in solidarity with Kathrada’s family. “We call on all South Africans to unite as we bid Ahmed Kathrada a final goodbye,” stated the Fighters.