Special Official Funeral for Uncle Kathy

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pretoria – President Jacob Zuma has declared a Special Official Funeral for anti-apartheid struggle veteran, Ahmed Kathrada.

Uncle Kathy, as he was known, passed away at the Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg in the early hours of Tuesday morning. He was 87.

The President has instructed that the national flag fly at half-mast at every station in the country from today until the evening of the official memorial service.

The funeral will take place on Wednesday at 10am at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg.

The programme, according to the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, will include a political tribute session starting at 10am.  

The former President of South Africa and board member of the Kathrada Foundation, Kgalema Motlanthe, and anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Sophie Williams-de Bruyn will be among the speakers.

The tributes will then be followed by the ritual Muslim funeral prayer rites, which will commence at 11.30am at the cemetery. This will be followed by the final burial rites.

Tributes pour in for Uncle Kathy

President Zuma has sent his deepest condolences to his wife, former Minister of Public Enterprises, Barbara Hogan, the Kathrada family and his political home, the African National Congress, which Uncle Kathy served selflessly throughout his adult life.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has also expressed his extreme sadness at the passing of Kathrada. He said Kathrada dedicated all his adult life to the struggle against apartheid and the building of a democratic South Africa.

“Uncle Kathy had lived a life of dedication to fellow human beings. He served the ANC and the country with humility and always led with dignity. His values will always inform the work we do for the people,” said Premier Makhura. 

Ordinary South Africans have also taken to social media to reflect on the life and times of the Kathrada. They have described him as a tireless campaigner for human rights, equality and dignity for all as well as the greatest inspiration to all South Africans.

Kathrada will be remembered, for the most part, as one of the eight iconic men, including Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ray Mhlaba, Dennis Goldberg and Elias Motsoaledi, who were arrested at Liliesleaf Farm and found guilty on charges, including conspiracy and sabotage, during the famous Rivonia Trial held at the Palace of Justice in Pretoria in 1963.

He was one of those sentenced to life in prison and hard labour on Robben Island, where he spent more than a quarter of a century.

The ANC bestowed its highest honour, Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe, on Kathrada in 1992 for his selfless dedication to the struggle for a free democratic non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.

The Thabo Mbeki Foundation said it was encouraged that Uncle Kathy remained committed to the principle of a better life for all to the end.

“The TMF believes that to the extent that the ideals for which comrade Kathy fought are yet to be realised, we must do everything to ensure that the values which inspired him to battle germinate a million times over and to produce more of his calibre who will, instead of submitting, vigorously prosecute the struggle for a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it.” – SAnews.gov.za

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