CAPE TOWN – Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille says the city is planning a memorial service to celebrate the life of Ahmed Kathrada.
The struggle veteran passed away at the Donald Gordon Hospital on Tuesday morning, aged 87.
The mayor has extended condolences to Kathrada’s loved ones.
“One behalf of the people of Cape Town I’d like to express condolences to the Ahmed Kathrada family and his wife Barbara Hogan. Uncle Kathy was a freeman of the city of Cape Town.”
WATCH: EWN looks back at Ahmed Kathrada’s life & his significance in the struggle for democracy.
Kathrada’s health deteriorated on Monday after he was admitted to hospital for surgery related to blood clotting in the brain earlier this month.
Former premier of the North West province Popo Molefe has added his voice to the chorus of tributes.
“While he know he was advanced in age and he was not well, [his death comes] at a time when we know there’s a need for great leadership in the African National Congress, and the country as a whole, where we need such great inspiration for young people. His departure leaves a great void.”
Seeing the end of apartheid was one of the things Kathrada was most proud of.
In an interview he did with Melanie Verwoerd for Eyewitness News last year, Kathrada said mistakes were made in the struggle for freedom but this was inevitable.
In the interview, he said there is still a lot to be achieved.
“After 300 years of the white oppressive rule with all its weaknesses, we have established a non-racial society and government. I am quite aware that 20 years in the life of an individual may be a lot but in the life of a nation it is a stepping stone toward what we want to achieve.”
The struggle veteran added that mistakes were made during the first five years of democracy.
“There were many mistakes made and it is inevitable. We had never ruled. I remember sitting in Madiba’s office during the first five years of democracy and we didn’t know anything.”
IMAGE: Ahmed Kathrada looks on as Palestinian Liberation Front veteran Leila Khaled (not in picture) speaks at a press conference upon her arrival at the OR Tambo international Airport on February 6, 2015 in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP