Kathrada turns 85 – celebrating a lifetime of activism

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation will be hosting a series of events to mark the 85th birthday of struggle stalwart, Ahmed Kathrada.

The celebrations will take place from August 21 – his birth date – to August 23. Kathrada is expected to address audiences, both young and old, at the various programmes being hosted.

Events include a discussion session aimed at school pupils in Lenasia, a celebration organised by students at the University of Witwatersrand and a banquet in Newtown.

Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, Neeshan Balton, said that each of the events will honour Kathrada’s role as a lifelong activist. “We looked at Kathrada’s life and saw that he has been a consistent activist since the age of 12. Even at the age of 85, Kathrada remains an advocate for non-racialism through the Foundation, and has supported causes, such as the Palestinian one. One still finds this ‘Madala’ attending everything from meetings to protest marches!”

Balton added that Kathrada has been part of most major anti-apartheid campaigns since the late 1940s, except for when he was in prison. He has participated in the Passive Resistance Campaign, the Defiance Campaign, the Congress of the People, was an accused in the Treason Trial and was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Rivonia Trial.

“It is remarkable that an individual could have participated in all of these historical milestones,” Balton noted. “It is this type of activism and commitment to voluntary work that we hope can inspire people, especially the youth. This is why two of the events we are hosting this month around the birthday celebrations, involves school and university students,” he stated.


Table of events:


21 August, 10am to 12pm:  Kathrada speaks to  school pupils

Patidar Hall, Salvia Street, Ext 3, Lenasia.

Kathrada will engage with pupils from several schools around the Lenasia area. The 21st is the actual date of his birthday, and he felt it important to be spending it with young people.


22 August, 6pm:  Wits Students Celebration 

Great Hall, University of Witwatersrand

Speaker: Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke

Artist: Ifani


23 August, 6pm:  Banquet

Lifestyle and Image Centre, 85 Mint Road (cnr Carr Street), Newtown

Speaker: Graca Machel


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