JOHANNESBURG – President Jacob Zuma has declared a “special official funeral” for the late Rivonia Treason Trialist and stalwart of the liberation struggle, Ahmed Kathrada, who passed away in hospital on Tuesday morning.
Kathrada was 87. He died after a short illness following brain surgery.
Zuma has also instructed that the national flag fly at half-mast at every station in the country from Tuesday until the evening of Kathrada’s official memorial service .
“President Zuma sends his deepest condolences to his partner, former Minister of Public Enterprises Ms Barbara Hogan, the Kathrada family and his political home, the African National Congress, which Uncle Kathy served selflessly throughout his adult life,” the Presidency said in a statement.
“Uncle Kathy”, as he was affectionately known, was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island prison along with former President Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. He was one of the longest serving political prisoners in the country. Kathrada served 26 years in prison, mostly on Robben Island.
The ANC bestowed its highest honour, Isithwalandwe/Seaparankoe on Kathrada in 1992 for his selfless dedication to the struggle for a free democratic non-racial and non-sexist South Africa.
Announcing the struggle veteran’s passing, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said it was “deeply saddened to announce the passing on of ANC veteran Ahmed Kathrada (87) this morning, at the Donald Gordon Hospital in Johannesburg”.
The Foundation said Kathrada passed away “peacefully” surrounded by family and hospital staff members after a short period of illness, following brain surgery.
The Kathrada family has requested a private funeral ceremony, where he would be laid to rest according to Muslim religious rites at West Park Cemetery on Wednesday morning. The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation announced that the Janaza would leave the Masjid Furqaan in Houghton at 9am.
The Presidency said an official memorial service will be organised and the details would be announced in due course.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa would lead the send-off of the stalwart on behalf of the South African government.
– African News Agency (ANA)