We at Corruption Watch are deeply saddened by the passing of liberation stalwart Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, who died in the early hours of Tuesday morning after complications following surgery earlier in March to relieve blood clotting on the brain.

As an author, a scholar, a Rivonia trialist and struggle veteran, Kathrada was a voice of reason and a pillar of integrity and morality. Despite the hardships that he faced, Kathrada will be fondly remembered for his humour, humility and gentle spirit that characterised his leadership style. We are immensely grateful for his principled nature and unshakable commitment to achieving a non-racial and non-sexist democratic South Africa. Till the end of his life, Kathrada also remained dedicated to tackling injustices at a global level – he was firm in his stance against all forms of inequality and violations of human rights. His dignity was unquestionable and he taught us humility by example.

Kathrada belonged to an era of leaders that often self-reflected on their actions and were able to call on others to act in the best interest of the people that they were serving. Thus, it did not come as a surprise last year when Kathrada called on President Jacob Zuma to step down. “I am not a political analyst‚ but I am now driven to ask: “Dear Comrade President‚ don’t you think your continued stay as president will only serve to deepen the crisis of confidence in the government of the country?” At a time of a deep leadership credibility crisis in South Africa, Kathrada once again displayed his principled nature and fearlessly appealed to the president to submit to growing calls of the people and step down.

The life of Ahmed Kathrada was extraordinary and his contribution to South Africa will be etched into our history. We extend our condolences to his partner Barbara Hogan, the Kathrada family, the African National Congress and the many friends of the liberation movement.

Hamba kahle Uncle Kathy

Photo by Mark Cornelison, UK College of Arts & Sciences