Zuma declares special official funeral for Ahmed Kathrada

In paying tribute to Kathrada, President Zuma has described him as a stalwart of the liberation struggle for a free and democratic South Africa.

FILE: Ahmed Kathrada at Fatima Meer's memorial service in Durban. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - President Jacob Zuma has declared a special official funeral for freedom icon Ahmed Kathrada.

This entails the national flag being flown at half-mast at all government buildings from Tuesday until the evening of the official memorial service.

Kathrada was admitted to the Donald Gordon Hospital earlier this month, where he underwent surgery after doctors discovered a blood clot in his brain.

In paying tribute to Kathrada, President Zuma has described him as a stalwart of the liberation struggle for a free and democratic South Africa.

Presidency's Bongani Ngqulunga says: “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.”

Presidency Statement on Ahmed Kathrada's death by Primedia Broadcasting on Scribd


The family of struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada, also known as "Uncle Kathy", is at the hospital, where the struggle stalwart died.

Kathrada’s grandnephew Aziz says the family will remember him for his sense of humour and wisdom.

Kathrada is expected to be buried according to Muslim rites.

Both the Nelson Mandela and Ahmed Kathrada Foundations are expected to give a briefing during the course of Tuesday morning.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has described 87-year-old Kathrada as a man of remarkable gentleness, modesty and steadfastness.

Tutu has hailed Kathrada for his loyalty to the African National Congress (ANC), which also extended to criticising it.

The ANC has described “Uncle Kathy” as an extraordinary leader whose service to South Africa will forever be inscribed.

WATCH: Ahmed Kathrada dies at the age of 87

The ANC's Zizi Kodwa says: “We give our revolutionary banner in honour of this Isitwalandwe/Seaparankwe the highest honour in the ANC, which is bestowed to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution and sacrifice towards the struggle and liberation of South Africa. ‘Uncle Kathy’ was not just an ordinary leader, he was exceptional.”

Former Robben Island and Pollsmoor Prison warder for Kathrada, Christo Brand, says the struggle icon was like a father to him.

“It’s a very sad day for us today, for me personally or the country because what he was fighting for should’ve happened in his time. We’ll miss him. He did a lot for South Africa.”

South African Communist Party General Secretary Blade Nzimnade says it’s important to never allow Kathrada's memory and other stalwarts like Nelson Madela and Oliver Tambo to fade away.

“This is a great loss for South Africa. These are stalwarts who’ve served our country without any expectations. We must continue to hold them as examples, not just for us who are still alive today, but for our future generation... if we’re to build a South Africa that they dreamt of and sacrificed for.”

(Edited by Zamangwane Shange)