Tributes pour in for Ahmed Kathrada

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Pretoria - The South African Military Ombud, retired Lieutenant General Themba Matanzima, has joined South Africans and government in extending condolences to the family of Ahmed Kathrada.

Struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada, 87, passed away at the Donald Gordon Medical Centre on Tuesday morning. Kathrada's health deteriorated on Monday after he was admitted to hospital for surgery related to blood clotting in the brain earlier this month. His condition worsened in the past 24 hours due to pneumonia, which developed after the operation.

“We need to celebrate his life as a nation and live according to his principles of creating a non-racial society. Ahmed was always at the forefront of promoting an equal society, even in his old age, as he demonstrated by joining the right to equal affordable education late last year,” said Matanzima.

The Military Ombud Office extended a heartfelt message of condolence to Kathrada’s wife, Barbara Hogan, the Kathrada family, friends and the nation at large.

“May the Almighty God give them strength to go through this difficult period. Uncle Kathy, as he was affectionately known to all those whose lives he touched, dedicated his life for the freedom of South Africa and championed the rights of all our citizens.

“He was committed to human rights globally and was a vocal supporter of the Palestinian cause.”

The Free State Executive Council and the people of the Free State have also expressed sadness over Kathrada’s passing. The Premier’s office said Kathrada was a distinguished, dedicated and selfless freedom fighter.

Free State Acting Premier Tate Makgoe said the province is further saddened that Kathrada has died within days of the passing of yet another great individual, Free State sport icon Petrus Molemela, who passed away on Sunday morning following an illness.

“A dark cloud has indeed befallen us. [May they] rest in peace. We are, however, grateful for the sacrifice that Uncle Kathy made to the struggle for freedom. Our prayers go to the family, friends, members and supporters of the ANC and South Africans at large.

“We further wish the spirit of Uncle Kathy to rest in eternal peace. Rest in peace Uncle Kathy. We will always remember you. Your participation in the struggle was not in vain. Thank you for the role you have played,” said Makgoe. -