Indian-origin anti-apartheid icon dies

The 87-year-old anti-apartheid veteran is was hospitalised earlier this month to have a blood clot removed from his brain.

The ANC's Zizi Kodwa says: "We give our revolutionary banner in honour of this Isitwalandwe/Seaparankwe the highest honour in the ANC, which is bestowed to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution and sacrifice towards the struggle and liberation of South Africa".

In 1951, Kathrada visited East Berlin to attend the youth festival jointly organised by the World Federation of Democratic Youth and the International Union of Students.

Reacting to these reports, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said it had no knowledge of the reports and added that the late stalwart's funeral would be open to everyone.

Kathrada, who frequently referred to Mandela as his "elder brother", was among three political prisoners who were sentenced to life imprisonment together with the South African anti-apartheid icon after the infamous Rivonia Trial of 1964. Kathrada was released from prison in 1989, the year before Mandela was freed.

FILE - In this December 15, 2013 file photo, anti-apartheid activist and close friend of Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, right, is escorted after speaking at the funeral service for the former South African president, Nelson Mandela, in Qunu, South Africa.

"Comrade Kathy was a gentle, humane and humble soul".

Ivory Park police spokesperson Captain Bernard Matimulane said, "The Ivory Park police joins the entire country in mourning the passing of the struggle stalwart, Ahmed Kathrada".

"May Ahmed rest in peace and rise in glory", Desmond Tutu, the former Cape Town Archbishop, said on Facebook.

He was among 2,000 people arrested and jailed for defying a law that discriminated against South African-Indians.

He will be buried according to Muslim religious rights, his charity foundation said.

Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, affectionately known as Kathy, was born in Schweizer-Reneke, a small town in the North West on 21 August 1929.

Kathrada was imprisoned for 26 years, 18 of which were on Robben Island.

In a statement to newsrooms, the President said Kathrada was an exemplary freedom fighter who teaches all Africans of the need to defend rights for all.

"His life is a lesson in humility, tolerance, resilience and steadfast commitment to principle, even when taking a principled stance would place him at odds with his comrades", said the ANC in a statement.

But he was arrested again in 1963 and tried along with Mandela and other ANC leaders at the famous Rivonia Trial on charges of engaging in armed struggle.

Ramaphosa extended his condolences to Kathrada's wife, Barbara Hogan, his family and friends.

  • Carolyn Briggs