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Remembering Ahmed Kathrada: 10 Quotes from a South African Struggle Icon

South Africa has lost a liberation hero with the passing of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, aged 87. Affectionately known a...

South Africa has lost a liberation hero with the passing of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, aged 87. Affectionately known as Kathy, Kathrada was a Robben Island prisoner and one of Walter Sisulu, and Nelson Mandela's closest cadres in the struggle against apartheid. 

Kathrada dedicated is life to fighting racial inequality and the apartheid regime's racist and unjust policies. We share with you 10 of his profound and timeless quotes. 

Ahmed Kathrada was born on 21 August 1929 in Schweizer-Reneke, a small rural South African town, about 200 miles from Johannesburg. 
The Late Struggle Icon

The country mourns the death of a struggle icon and tributes continue to pour in. We remember Kathrada, and share with you a selection of some of his most profound and inspirational quotes.

1. "The people's interest must at all times remain supreme". Letter to President Jacob Zuma, 31 March 2016.

2. "We increasingly hear and read of "untransformed" counter-revolutionaries, "neo-liberals", "coconuts", and the newest is "clever blacks". On their own they can be dismissed, ridiculed or ignored. However, it is the constant repetition of such terms that is disturbing. Speech delivered at the University of the Witwatersrand on 11 December 2012.

3. "It must be a critical understanding of history that corrects distorted versions of liberation in which only certain groupings are seen to have fought for freedom". Article published in the World Policy Journal.

4. "We can only be satisfied and happy when: every child wakes up in a warm house has a good nutritious breakfast is able to say a loving good bye to both working parents goes to school in safe and reliable transport is met at school by teachers who are there on time, ready and able to teach". Speech delivered on 21 August 2012 in Kliptown, Soweto on the bestowing of the Freedom of the City Award.

5. "In South Africa today, we have a number of politically parties; with minor differences all the main programmes are similar on major issues. Our enemy today is not apartheid. Our enemy is poverty, hunger, disease, homelessness, crime, unemployment," Speech delivered on 16 April 2010.

6. "... but we say that if under very arduous conditions, if prisoners from different parties on Robben Island could unite against the common enemy, today why can't we unite against this common enemy which is poverty, hunger, disease?" Speech delivered on 16 April 2010.

7. "Our armed struggle was aimed at forcing the enemy to the negotiating table. So, that's a part of the lesson for the people who are in the struggle".

8. "Hatred, revenge, bitterness - these are negative emotions. The person harbouring those emotions suffers more".

9. "When Walter (Sisulu) died, I lost a father. And now I have lost a brother. My life is void and I don't know who to turn to," at the passing on of Nelson Mandela.

10. "Another growing threat is the ignorance of young people about the history of our struggle. They need to know that with freedom comes responsibility". Article published in the World Policy Journal. - Online Sources

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