Thank you Kathy for fighting for our freedom!

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Nosihle Shelembe

Pretoria – The family of struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada has thanked him for the role he played in South Africa's liberation.

“Whilst we lost many years without him, the sacrifices he made for our country has ensured that we can live in dignity and with pride…knowing that the time lost was for a worthy cause. Kathy thank you for fighting for our freedom and dignity,” family member Nazir Kathrada said on Wednesday.

He was addressing hundreds of mourners who had gathered at the Westpark cemetery to pay their last respects to Kathrada.

The 87-year-old struggle stalwart passed away on Tuesday morning at the Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Johannesburg after a short period of illness.

“Kathy’s embodiment of justice has guided my life, his inherent inclination of doing what is right and showing what it means to be kind, his sense of discipline and selflessness have pillars in my life,” Nazir said.

He described his uncle as gentle and kind.

“He was a jolly, warm, kind family man. Kathy will be solely missed for….his encouragement to the youth regarding education and furthering education, his principled approach to life but most importantly his sweet nature.

“The Katharada family would like to express our gratitude to Kathy for being an example of bravery, courage, faith and discipline,” Nazir said.

Also paying tribute at the funeral, was his long-time friend and comrade, Laloo Chiba, who said Kathrada has been a pillar of strength and support to him.

“Especially during the long and lonely years of Robben Island thus enabling me to see through the 30 years with grace and with dignity. He has guided me through my life journey with remarkable consistency… he leaves a large void in our lives.

“Although he has passed on he shall always occupy a special place in the minds and hearts of all freedom loving people for his unselfish contribution during a timespan that covers three quarters of a century,” Chiba said.

He said although Kathrada had passed on, his life and rich legacy which included his willingness to make sacrifices in the interest of people, his humility, spirit of commitment and dedication to global causes should be celebrated.

“During the past 63 years since we first met… Kathy has been my elder brother, my best friend, my political mentor, comrade, leader, confidant hero and role model,” Chiba said.

Chiba said Kathrada was passionate about justice, promoting the ideals of non-racialism and he loved children.  

Kathrada served 26 years in prison in which he was held at Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prisons.

Following his release in 1989, he was elected to serve as a member of the democratic parliament, representing the governing party. –

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