JOHANNESBURG – Anti-Apartheid activist, Ahmed Kathrada was on Friday described by many as a person who always sacrificed so much for others and put other people before himself.
Struggle veterans Andrew Mlangeni, Sophie Williams-De Bruyn and former speaker of the National Assembly, Frene Ginwala, honoured Kathrada with the unveiling of a life-size bronze statue at the Cradle of Humankind heritage site in Magaliesburg, west of Johannesburg.
The sculpture of Kathrada is an addition to those of struggle icons, Nelson Mandela, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Albertina and Walter Sisulu, Oliver and Adelaide Tambo, Bantu Steve Biko and many others.
These heroes of the liberation struggle were being honoured in The Long March to Freedom – a procession of 400 individuals who struggled against oppression in South Africa from the early 1700s to Freedom Day in April 1994.
Kathrada Foundation Board chairperson Derek Hanekom said it was not only about the unveiling of Uncle Kathy’s statue, "but seeing all these statues, the 100 statues, which makes an incredibly impressive collection of statues depicting a long period of our history, 350 years of liberation history".
"We believe that every South African should come here, not only for the statue collection, but of course for Maropeng itself which gives the world’s most prolific evidence of where we all come from," Hanekom said.
Chief Executive Officer of the National Heritage Project Dali Tambo said each time a statue is unveiled in The Long March to Freedom, it marks the first phase for that person, which comes from deep research, both historical, photographic and anecdotal.
“The first phase is about taking Kathrada from the pages of history in which he walked the history of South Africa and placing him appropriately into the heritage of South Africa," Tambo said.
Tambo said they stand as the world’s biggest display of bronze sculptures of human rights activists. "Let’s honour the fact that our forebears built the greatest international solidarity movement in human history".
After unveiling Kathrada’s statue, Mlangeni remembered their past and said Kathrada did not want special treatment.
"Rest in peace bra Kath, we honour you, boy."
African News Agency (ANA)