As we mourn the loss of Mr. Ahmed Kathrada, whom passed away this March, we take the time to remember his good works and devotion to end the apartheid in South Africa and the pursuit of upholding human rights and fighting against injustice. He left school at the age of seventeen to work for the Transvaal Passive Resistance Council which
His work halted when he took part in the Passive Resistance Campaign for the South African Indian Congress and was imprisoned for twenty-six years for his anti-apartheid activism, alongside Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. While in prison, the apartheid was undoubtedly alive and well inside as well as outside the prison as they experienced ration, clothing and brutality disparities based upon their race. Although discrepancies were prevalent, he was able to obtain an education while in prison and received a B.A. in History and Criminology and has received numerous accolades since. He was finally freed in 1989 at the age of sixty and upon release was met with a crowd of five thousand people, a hero’s welcome.
In spite of injustice against him, his passion and dedication towards upholding rights for all never waned. He continued to be an active member in society as he served on the party’s National Executive Committee in 1990 and headed its public relations department until 1994. Following this elected position, he served as a member of Parliament in the African National Congress and Chairperson of the Robben Island Museum Council until 2006. He lived a life of political activism with his wife, Barbara Hogan, who was also an anti-apartheid activist to ensure a better future for all.
His legacy inspires and encourages the effort put forth to fight against injustice in all forms. At AFJN, we reflect on Mr. Ahmed Kathrada’s life and efforts as we continue to fight against injustices for Africa.