One the most respected of all South Africa’s revolutionaries Ahmed Mohamed (Kathy) Kathrada was buried on March 29, 2017 in Johannesburg in accordance with Islamic traditions. He was 87.
Kathrada was founder-president of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.
His memorial was attended by hundreds of family members and admirers from Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Hindu communities who paid tribute to the veteran of the decades-long national liberation struggle that brought the ANC to power in 1994.
Born into an Muslim South Indian immigrant family on August 21, 1929 – Kathrada at age 12 played an instrumental role in forming coalitions among the oppressed national groups across the country during the 1940s and 1950s.
Kathrada was inspired by another South African freedom-fighter Dr. Yusuf Mohamed Dadoo. Dadoo, a medical practitioner, was an important figure in the Non-European United Front (NEUF) which initially opposed African and Indian involvement in the military services during the early phase of World War II.
In 1964, Kathrada along with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Dennis Goldberg, Raymond Mhlaba, Elias Motsoaledi and Andrew Mlangeni were tried for treason and found guilty in an apartheid court. Although the defendants felt they would be hung, the ANC-SACP leaders were given life in prison without parole under hard labor conditions. Mandela, the last of the group to be released, served twenty seven and a half years in prison at Robben Island, Pollsmoor and at a residence in the Western Cape.