Keabetswe Shilakwe | 28 January 2017
When a loved one passes on, one is filled with a sense of denial. A feeling of hope is always there, the hope that the person will come back. But such is not the case with struggle stalwart, Ahmed Kathrada, or more affectionately known as Uncle Kathy.
Uncle Kathy will be not just be remembered as the man with over 70 years experience in fighting for human rights in the apartheid struggle, but also as a humble, simple and down to earth man who could make someone laugh effortlessly.
He wasn’t known to be a sickly person, so when they discovered the clot of blood in his brain, the decision was made to operate. It was said the chances of him recovering were positive until he started having seizures. A few days later he developed a fever which later became pneumonia.
“He told us a long, long time ago, I don’t want to be on a life support system, you can’t leave me in a vegetable state to keep me alive with all these machines. If it is my time to go, let me go with dignity …”
MEC of transport, Ismail Vadi, says Uncle Kathy was a good listener and had an openness to embrace other people. He is said to have had no trace of bitterness when he took over 300 foreign dignitaries to Robben Island over the years and showing them his old jail cell and telling them about life in the prison.
“He was an activist right till the end.”
Our prayers and condolences go to his loved ones as they prepare for his funeral. It is never easy to see a loved one go, but it is especially painful to see an individual who has done so much for his people and his country go. We can only hope they find solace in his memory and good deeds.
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old: age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.” – Laurence Binyon