One of the great champions of freedom, democracy and the new South Africa, Uncle Kathy has left a legacy that all South Africans should hold in their hearts for all their days


Zenani Mandela-Dlamini, daughter of former president Nelson Mandela

"He was my other father… Ever gentle… But undoubtedly powerful. Let us speak the truth today, uncle Kathy is the last of his generation of many men and women who fought so badly for the liberation of our country and still managed to practice what they preach and walk the talk, which is no easy task today."

Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa

"My fond memory of Uncle Kathy is that he was so wicked and so wonderful. His popularity amongst celebrities, particularly movie stars was the type that would make many men envious."

Kgalema Motlanthe, former President of South Africa

“It’s sad that we lose such a giant of the struggle for liberation in South Africa, a morally forthright person who always expressed his honest view on any matter on the discussion. Go well Uncle Kathy; you have had your run!! Hamba Kahle cawe la ma cawe… Tsamaya sentle mogale wa bagale!!!!.”

Zwelinzima Vavi, former Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary

“We have learnt with great sadness the passing of yet another stalwart of the liberation movement. A man of principal, a man who stood firm behind those principles and was never shaken by the powers of those that are in office today.”

Eddie Daniels, a former Liberal Party member and Robben Island survivor.

"When I got there, I was all alone and he made me feel welcome. When you are alone under trying conditions, your morale goes [down], but Kathy was there for me. I will remember him for his patience, generosity, his quietness. Whenever there was trouble brewing, he used his passiveness to calm everyone down."

A quote by Ahmed Kathrada, read out by Busisiwe Nkosi of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

“Freedom did not fall from the sky, but was fought for with blood, sweat and tears.”

Narend Singh, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) chief whip

“On behalf of Prince Buthelezi and the IFP we are indeed saddened by the passing of ‘Uncle Kathy’. He has indeed made an indelible mark in the history of South Africa with his contribution during the days of the struggle.”

Mmusi Maimane, Democratic Alliance leader

“I fondly recall the many times I engaged with Uncle Kathy. He told me of the years on Robben Island where he – along with the likes of Mandela, Sisulu and Tambo – never heard or saw the presence of children. He shared with me that for him freedom meant hearing the voices of children, indicating his sincere compassion, as well as his commitment to the future of our beautiful country.”

Mathews Phosa, ANC veteran

“Comrade Kathrada’s departure from our shores is a huge loss to our country and people of all races, who he represented throughout his life, fighting for the rights of everybody.”

Statement by the Helen Suzman Foundation

"He was one of the most prominent figures associated with President Nelson Mandela. He was a man of enormous courage and perseverance. He was also a man with a keen and warm sense of humour."

Derek Hanekom, chairman of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation board

“It is no coincidence that Uncle Kathy was such a dear and close friend to Nelson Mandela‚ because they are the same‚ they think the same‚ they project the same‚ they stand for the same values. Just as Mandela was loved by millions around the world, Uncle Kathy is loved by millions of South Africans and millions around the world.”

Aaron Motsoaledi, Health Minister

“It’s a loss for South Africa but also the whole world. When you're among the people who fought for freedom the way he did alongside Nelson Mandela, it inspires the whole world. We regard it as a global loss.”

Desmond Tutu, former archbishop

“Leah and I extend our deepest condolences to all who loved & were loved by #AhmedKathrada. God bless you all.”
Statement by the Economic Freedom Fighters

“As a country, we must all learn from the selflessness of Uncle Kathy, always prioritising the marginalised and ensuring that their voices are heard and respected.”

Luyanda Mpahlwa former Robben Island prisoner and Robben Island Museum council member

"It’s a dark hour for our country, as we mourn his passing noting the influence he has had on Robben Island itself, but also the role that he played towards achieving freedom, democracy and peace in South Africa."

Statement by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation

“We are deeply encouraged that Comrade Kathy remained committed to principle to the end. As we remember a life so well lived, we cannot but reflect on the valuable counsel Comrade Kathy conveyed to all of us while he lived, including and in particular the importance of promoting the understanding that leaders exist to serve the people rather than to cultivate their personal interests.”

Statement by the Nelson Mandela Foundation

“The sadness felt by the Nelson Mandela Foundation and everyone associated with it at the passing of Ahmed ‘Kathy’ Kathrada is inexpressible. He was a comrade, associate and close friend of Nelson Mandela’s through seven decades. And he was a much-loved trustee of the Foundation’s for many years.”

Statement by the Presidency's Bongani Ngqulunga

“President Zuma has sent his deepest condolences to his partner, former minister of public enterprises Barbara Hogan the Kathrada family and his political home, ANC, which he served selflessly throughout his adult life.”

SOURCES: Eyewitness News, Mail&Guardian, Independent Online, The Citizen, SABC.

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Issue 408


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