Prayers and best wishes have been pouring in for Rivonia Trialist Ahmed Kathrada who underwent a major surgery on Saturday.
His foundation announced on Sunday that the struggle stalwart underwent surgery for a blood clot in the brain.
The 87-year-old was initially admitted to the hospital for dehydration, but doctors later detected the clot, which was subsequently removed.
— Kathrada Foundation (@KathradaFound) March 5, 2017
Following the successful operation, President Jacob Zuma has sent his best wishes to the struggle icon.
In a statement released by the presidency on Tuesday, Zuma urged South Africans to always keep the icon in their thoughts.
“We send good wishes to our liberation struggle stalwart and one of our three surviving Rivonia trialists. We urge the nation to keep him and his family in their thoughts and prayers at this time.”
Speaking on AM Live Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Nishan Bolton said Kathrada’s progress has not been as fast as they would have liked it to be.
“There have been some complications which have led to his long stay in the hospital. Uncle Kathy contracted a bout of pneumonia, which has now been treated,” Bolton said.
The foundation also used the opportunity to thank all and sundry who wished “Uncle Kathy” a speedy recovery after his surgery.
@KathradaFound We would like to wish Uncle Kathy a speedy recovery after his surgery. We will see you up and about very soon. Take care
— Tambo Foundation (@TamboFoundation) March 5, 2017
In the meantime, only visits from immediate family are permitted – for now -due to hospital regulations and the necessity for a relaxed period of recovery.
Ahmed Kathrada, Andrew Mlangeni and Denis Goldberg are the only surviving Rivonia Trialists.
Along with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Raymond Mhlaba, and Elias Motsoaledi, they were sentenced in 1964 to life imprisonment on Robben Island during the famous Rivonia Trial.
He spent 18 years on Robben Island and a further seven in Pollsmoor Prison for opposing apartheid.
Uncle Kathy, as he’s affectionately known, left parliamentary politics in 1999 after serving both the ANC and government in various capacities.
A staunch member of the ANC, he has been outspoken about recent failings of his party and its president, Jacob Zuma, calling on the latter to step down.
In a letter issued in April 2016, Kathrada expressed his concerns about a number of controversies that happened under Zuma’s leadership – warning they have potential to destroy public confidence in the governing party.
He warned that if President Zuma continues to stay in office, it could deepen the country’s crisis of confidence in the African National Congress (ANC) government.