Ahmed Kathrada: Memoirs
Ahmed Kathrada's autobiography is a moving, touching and often amusing read about a man who not only observed, but also actively participated in the shaping of a country's history.
Born a shopkeeper's son in the rural town of Schweizer-Reneke, he became the trusted confidante of some of the most prominent political figures in South Africa's struggle history, among them Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu. Politically active at the age of 10, and joining the Young Communists' League at 14, Kathrada -- or 'Kathy', as friends and family affectionately called him -- devoted his life to the freedom struggle in South Africa.
Persecuted, driven underground and sentenced to life imprisonment at the Rivonia Trial, Kathrada spent 18 years on Robben Island, where he grew close to both Mandela and Sisulu, whom he regarded as a second father.
On the island, in his tiny garden patch, Kathrada buried the original draft of Mandela's autobiography, until such time it could be smuggled to London. Having lived side by side with men who shaped the history of this country and assumed positions of power, Kathrada himself remained humble.
Eventually released from prison after 26 years, he eschewed a cabinet post, instead opting to oversee the Robben Island Museum project.
In this title, truly a collection of memoirs, he affords us rare glimpses into his and other activists' lives during the struggle and imprisonment, and sketches poignant cameos of those who would become South Africa's post-apartheid leaders.
Author Ahmed Kathrada
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