20 Facts About Ahmed Kathrada


Ahmed Kathrada was born on 21 August 1929 in the small country town of Schweizer-Reneke in the Western Transvaal, the fourth of six children in a Gujarati Bohra family of South African Indian immigrant parents from Surat, Gujarat.


Ahmed Kathrada took part in various activities such as handing out leaflets and performing volunteer work in the individual passive resistance against the Pegging Act in 1941.


Ahmed Kathrada was one of the two thousand volunteers imprisoned as a result of the campaign; he spent a month in a Durban jail in South Africa.


Ahmed Kathrada was elected as the leader of the large multi-racial South African delegation.


Ahmed Kathrada remained in Europe in order to attend a congress of the International Union of Students in Warsaw, and finally travelled to Budapest and worked at the headquarters of the World Federation of Democratic Youth for nine months.


Ahmed Kathrada was one of 156 accused in the four-year Treason Trial which lasted from 1956 to 1960.


On 11 July 1963, Ahmed Kathrada was arrested at the South African internal headquarters of Umkhonto we Sizwe in Rivonia, near Johannesburg.


Ahmed Kathrada was charged with sabotage and attempting to overthrow the government and to start a guerrilla war.


The trial ended in June 1964; Ahmed Kathrada was sentenced to life imprisonment along with Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki, Andrew Mlangeni, Billy Nair, Elias Motsoaledi, Raymond Mhlaba and Denis Goldberg.


Ahmed Kathrada resigned from the latter position when he was elected to the ANC National Executive Committee in July 1991.


Ahmed Kathrada went on the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in 1992.


In 1994 and 1995, Ahmed Kathrada was elected as chairperson of the Robben Island Council.


Ahmed Kathrada remained the chairperson of the Robben Island Museum Council.


Ahmed Kathrada was married to Barbara Hogan, a recent Minister of Public Enterprises.


Ahmed Kathrada died at a medical centre in Johannesburg from complications of a cerebral embolism on 28 March 2017, aged 87.


Ahmed Kathrada was buried the next day in Johannesburg in accordance with Islamic rites at Westpark Cemetery where his funeral took place there.


Ahmed Kathrada's funeral was attended by veterans of the struggle for freedom, ANC stalwarts, South African politicians, civil society and ordinary South Africans.


President Jacob Zuma, Ahmed Kathrada's opponent, did not attend the funeral in accordance with the family's wishes.


Ahmed Kathrada was voted 46th in the Top 100 Great South Africans in 2004.


Ahmed Kathrada was awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman by the Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in 2005.