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SALGA conveys condolences to the family of Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada - 21 August 1929 – 28 March 2017

Posted: 28 March 2017

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The South African Local Government Association (SALGA) conveys its heartfelt condolences to the Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada. Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, friendly known as "Kathy", was an anti-apartheid activist, former political prisoner and politician in South Africa. He was born on the 21 August 1929 at Schweizer-Reneke, a small rural South African town, about 322 kilometres from Johannesburg. He has passed on this morning of the 28 March 2017.

He was introduced to politics as a child in Johannesburg when he joined a non-racial youth club run by the Young Communist League. At the age of 17 Kathrada participated in the Passive Resistance Campaign of the South African Indian Congress. He was part of 2 000 people who were arrested and imprisoned for defying a law that discriminated against Indians.

He leaves behind his wife‚ Barbara Hogan‚ 65‚ an ANC activist who was jailed for treason. They met on his release from prison and she later served as an MP and Cabinet Minister in the post-apartheid era. Soon after his release on 15 October 1989, the liberation organizations were unbanned. Beyond serving in the ANC’s National Executive Committee and Public Relations Department up until 1994, in 1994 Kathrada was elected to Parliament and served as President Mandela's Parliamentary Counsellor and he was chairperson of the Robben Island Musuem Council until his term expired in 2006.

Ahmed Kathrada received the following awards:

• “Isithwalandwe”; the highest award bestowed by the ANC

• The ANC's Merit Award, for long service

• Presidential Order for Meritorious Service; Class 1: Gold

• Honorary Doctorate by University of Massachusetts, May 2000

• Honorary Doctorate by the University of Durban-Westville, 2002

• Doctorate of Humane Letters by the University of Missouri, January 2004

• Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, by President of India, January 2005

• Doctor of Humanities, Michigan State University, December 2005

• Honorary Doctorate from the University of Kentucky, May 2011.

• The City of Johannesburg bestowed its highest honour, Freeman of the City, August 2012

• Honorary Doctorate from Wits University, December 2012

He published the following books:

• Letters from Robben Island: a selection of Ahmed Kathrada’s prison correspondence (1964-1989), 1999

• Memoirs, 2004

• No Bread for Mandela: memoirs of Ahmed Kathrada, prisoner No. 468/64, 2004

• A Free Mind: Ahmed Kathrada's notebook from Robben Island, 2005

• A Simple Freedom: the strong mind of Robben Island Prisoner No. 468/64

Indeed his life was a life of principle, sacrifice and service. He has left a living legacy which stands to challenge all South Africans in government and in other spaces of development for a long time to come. How timely it is that he passes-on in the month of March, the month of human rights. May his soul rest in peace!


 
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