Salim and Quarraisha Abdool Karim and UKZN’s
Professor Rob Slotow.
The Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa (Caprisa) and UKZN’s College of Health Sciences recently hosted Dr Ahmed Kathrada, close personal friend of the late Nelson Mandela and a veteran of the anti-Apartheid struggle. Unbeknownst to the audience, Kathrada, also played a leading role in the naming of UKZN’s Nelson R Mandela School of Medicine.
Professor Salim Abdool Karim, director of Caprisa, introduced Kathrada (fondly known as Kathy) to the audience as one of the icons that made South Africa great and will always be remembered as being the founding sons of democracy in our country. Karim went on to say, ‘The mark of true greatness lies in Kathy’s humility and his passion to always do more for society’.
The year 2014, marks Kathrada’s 85th birthday as well as the 25th anniversary of his release from prison. In 1963, Kathrada was charged with sabotage and attempting to overthrow the government by violent means; and sentenced to life imprisonment. For the next 18 years, he was confined to the Robben Island Maximum Security Prison along with most of his Rivonia Trial “colleagues”. In October 1982, he was moved to Pollsmoor Maximum Prison near Cape Town to join others such as Mandela, Sisulu, Mhlaba and Mlangeni who had been moved there a few months before.
During his time on Robben island and Pollsmoor, Kathrada completed Bachelor’s degrees in History/Criminology and Bibliography as well as Honours degrees in History and African Politics.