About Ahmed Kathrada

Mandela and Kathrada

Know for his activism in the anti-apartheid movement, Ahmed M. Kathrada is best acknowledged as one of the Rivonia Trialists.  He was a political prisoner on Robben Island from 1964-1989 and after his release, became a member of South Africa's first freely elected Parliament, Parliamentary Counselor to the Office of President Mandela, and Chair of the Robben Island Museum.

Ahmed Mohamed "Kathy" Kathrada was born on August 29, 1929.  He became active in politics starting at the age of 12 when he joined the Young Communist League of South Africa. When he was 17 he started working for The Transvaal Passive Resistance Council and later became a chairperson of the Transvaal Indian Youth Congress while attending the University of Witwatersrand.

Prison Cell, Robben Island, 1996

When an alliance formed between the African National Congress and the South African Indian Congress, Kathrada started working with African leaders such as Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and J B Marks.  Kathrada had 17 prior arrested based on political grounds, when he along with Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Dennis Goldberg and other leaders were arrested at Rivonia, the underground headquarters of the African National Congress.

Kathrada and the others were sentenced to life in prison in June 1964. He was released though, at the age of 60 in 1989.  Kathrada was elected a Member of Parliament in 1994 and today, serves as the Chairperson of the Robben Island Museum council.

On December 10, 2005, Kathrada received an honorary doctorate of humanities from Michigan State University during the undergraduate commencement ceremony at Breslin Center in East Lansing.

Information gathered from http://www.sahistory.org.za/