Tribute to Ahmed Kathrada
- Professor David Everatt
Ahmed ‘Uncle Kathy’ Kathrada, an unassuming, quiet man who has left South Africans with a legacy that’s immediate, not historical.
Another South African legend has gone. Ahmed ‘Uncle Kathy’ Kathrada, an unassuming, quiet man who has left South Africans with a legacy that’s immediate, not historical.
Born in 1929, two factors mark his life and his passing, as they did for Nelson Mandela: he was African National Congress through and through. And he was a non-racialist. The byline of the Kathrada Foundation, a non-governmental organisation he established, is to ‘deepen non-racialism’. This is something he believed in to his core, even as others around him began to argue for an Africanist approach.
He was saddened that others, in an attempt to advocate for “colour-blindness” or more strident African nationalism, watered down the noble value of non-racialism. He maintained that non-racialism was a radical solidarity that at its very soul had undoing structural and interpersonal racism, and wrote:
I would still insist that meeting the modern challenges of poverty, hunger, homelessness and so on requires an approach that has a non-racial outlook embedded within it.
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