President Uhuru Kenyatta has joined other world leaders in mourning South African anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada who died on Tuesday.
In a statement to newsrooms, the President said Kathrada was an exemplary freedom fighter who teaches all Africans of the need to defend rights for all.
“As a young man, he showed the courage he would display all his life, dedicating himself to political activism in defence of the rights of the oppressed.
“We remember him as a man of courage; a fighter for the dignity, the equality, and the rights of every African; and as a founding father of the new South Africa,” the President said.
Kathrada, often known as ‘Kathy’ for short, was a South African political activist born in 1929 to a family that had emigrated from Lachpur, Gujarat, India.
According to the Kathrada Foundation, the renowned politician died from cerebral complications and was due to be buried on Wednesday in Johannesburg.
Kathrada rose from a passive Indian family from an early age and was attracted to some of the country’s renowned freedom fighters such as Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu.
In 1956, he was accused of treason alongside 156 others in a trial that dragged on for four years before they were acquitted by the then apartheid regime.
In 1960, the regime outlawed political organisations opposed to racial segregation. But he continued with his activism, receiving house arrests and detentions. Later he was imprisoned in the Iconic Robben Island prisons for 18 years, the same jail that Mandela spent 21 years in confinement.
Kathrada would spend another seven years from 1982 at the Pollsmoor prison in Cape Town before he was released in 1989.