Celebrating Ahmed Kathrada a champion for equality

Pretoria, Friday 31 March 2017 – The Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) today joined the country, and indeed citizens around the world, in mourning the passing of Ahmed Kathrada.

Reflecting on the passing of Mr Kathrada, CEO Professor Crain Soudien said, “South Africa has lost a champion in the country’s efforts to build a just and equal society, one who devoted decades of his life to fighting against resistant poverty and inequality.”

“In recent years, the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the HSRC have collaborated on a range of programmes to promote our shared vision of an equal society.  In 2011 we co-hosted a seminar series Men of Dynamite in which Mr Kathrada participated.  This series aimed to document the contributions, experiences of sacrifices of military veterans and their efforts to build a country where none would know discrimination based on race, gender or class.  The work to achieve this vision continues.”

“In celebrating the work of this modest and humble national icon, I am reminded of the words penned by Mr Kathrada in 2013 as he bid farewell to his lifelong friend and former President Nelson Mandela: In death you once more challenge people from every strata, religion, and position to think about how their own actions do and can change the world for better or worse.”

“Today, as South Africa comes to terms with the passing of Mr Kathrada and the loss of the moral compass to which he held us as a nation, we are challenged to think about what we can, and should do, to reverse the historical and ever deepening conditions of poverty, underdevelopment and inequality that millions of our citizens endure.”

“The strongest and most enduring tribute we can pay to Ahmed Kathrada and his, well lived, life of service to the people of this country, is to continue his work.  Our collective efforts must ultimately translate into greater justness, equality and development for the vast majority of our people.”

“The HSRC extends its deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of Mr Kathrada.  We wish you strength as you contemplate a life without this gentle giant.  We also express our deepest appreciation to you for sharing Mr Kathrada with the people of our country.  South Africa is richer for his contribution to our fight for political liberation and indeed for our more recent struggle against inequality,” concluded Professor Soudien.

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Notes to the Editor

About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

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