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Thabo Makgoba urges South Africans to imitate Ahmed Kathrada’s humility

The funeral service for Ahmed Kathrada has started at the Westpark Cemetery, with prayers from different denominations.

The coffin of late struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada stands next to the stage at his official state funeral at Westpark cemetery in Johannesburg on 29 March 2017. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Anglican Church Archbishop Thabo Makgoba has prayed for South Africans to carry the same goodness and selflessness as struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.

Makgoba was speaking at the Westpark Cemetery where Kathrada will be laid to rest on Wednesday.

He is joined by other religious leaders who have also had words of encouragement for mourners gathered at the service.

The funeral service has started at the Westpark Cemetery with prayers from different denominations.

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, former President Thabo Mbeki, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and freedom fighter Winnie Madikizela-Mandela have joined other dignitaries in paying their last respects.

A coffin flanked with the African National Congress (ANC) flag sits at the front of the marquee.

President Jacob Zuma will not be at the memorial service and funeral.

MAKHURA CALLS FOR RESPECT

Gauteng Premier David Makhura has used the funeral service of Kathrada to urge ANC leaders to respect the views of the party’s veterans and never insult or ignore them.

Makhura was speaking at the West Park Cemetery this morning where Kathrada will be laid to rest.

The Gauteng Premier says stalwarts such as Kathrada are very important.

“And we as leaders must have the humility to listen to stalwarts veterans of our struggle. We must be angry if anyone insults our stalwarts and veterans, for they represent that monumental honour and victory.”

He says the views of veterans should be respected.

“Let’s ensure that the views and voices of our struggle stalwarts and veterans are heard and respected.”

WATCH LIVE: Ahmed Kathrada funeral and memorial service

REMEMBERING AHMED KATHRADA

Kathrada's partner Barbara Hogan, who served as Minister of Public Enterprise, received guests at their Killarney home on Tuesday, including Ramaphosa and former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel.

Ramaphosa spoke of Kathrada’s strong values.

“He was in prison for 26 years and he was only free for 27 years. And for this, we see a person’s life which was just dedicated to making sure that our people are free, making sure that we have this democracy.”

Manuel related his fond memories of Kathrada.

“My personal contact with him goes back to 1985 when I was in Pollsmoor and he went past my cell, said hello to me and asked me to be strong on his way to a hospital.”

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)