Desmond Tutu’s Farewell Message to #AhmedKathrada

Ahmed Kathrada, right, with Nelson Mandela.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s statement on the death of Ahmed Kathrada – leader, former political prisoner and ally of Nelson Mandela, and a hero during the struggle against apartheid:

When the gates of apartheid’s political prisons swung open in 1989/1990 the quality of the human beings who emerged was an extraordinary blessing for all South Africans.

These were people of the highest integrity and moral fibre who, through their humility and humanity, inspired our collective self-worth – and the world’s confidence in us.

Ahmed Kathrada was one of those leaders. A man of remarkable gentleness, modesty – and steadfastness – he once wrote to the President to argue that he did not deem himself important enough to be awarded a high honour.

A leader who embraced the simple life, who eschewed consumptiveness, who supported righteous causes at home and abroad, whose loyalty to the ANC extended, also, to criticising it.

The struggle denied Ahmed Kathrada the opportunity to have children of his own; he was first imprisoned at the age of 17. But many South Africans looked up to him as a favourite grandparent.

Leah and I extend our deepest condolences to all who loved and were loved by Ahmed Kathrada. God bless you all.

May Ahmed rest in peace and rise in glory. May he rejoice in many heavenly cups of hot chocolate with his old friends and comrades, Mandela, Sisulu, Mbeki, Motsoaledi and Mahlaba among them.

Long may the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation fertilise and grow this great soul’s legacy of non-racial justice.

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