JOHANNESBURG- This morning, with great sadness we woke up to hear of the passing of one of greatest anti-apartheid stalwarts, Ahmed Kathrada. Uncle Kathy, as he was fondly known, passed on in the early hours of this morning.

Uncle Kathy was a gentle man who despite facing years of oppression, came out of prison, still as gentle and humble and willing to sacrifice as ever.

It is this gentle resolve that distinguished this freedom fighter.

Like many others, under the apartheid system, Uncle Kathy was sentenced to imprisonment on Robben Island, for a fight for a non-racial and just society, the society many of us have started to enjoy over the years.

And while Ahmed Kathrada’s long journey has come to an end. As a nation ours has just begun, we owe it to Ahmed Kathrada to live in the just and equal world they imagined and fought for, we owe it to Ahmed Kathrada to protect the very principles of freedom that he worked so tirelessly to realise. The greatest honour to Kathy is to defend everything we have fought for, with everything we have got. That fight is now.

We send our love especially to Barbara Hogan, Uncle Kathy’s partner and comrade, herself a model of courage and commitment.

We send our condolences to his true comrades, especially to other ANC stalwarts who have tried to protect the noble ideals, honesty and principle of public service, that Uncle Kathy, Madiba, Chris Hani and many others lived and died for.

Hamba Kahle Uncle Kathy, Siyabonga.