A mourner holds a programme bearing the face of Ahmed Kathrada, during his funeral at the Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg. Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

JOHANNESBURG – Kaizer Chiefs chairman Kaizer Motaung had paid tribute to ANC struggle veteran Ahmed Kathrada whose funeral took place on Wednesday.

He was 60 when he was finally released on October 15, 1989.

“Kathrada was a remarkable person, a man who gave his life for the struggle to fight apartheid,” said Motaung.

The ANC stalwart was one of the last survivors of the Rivonia Trialists.

Eight men were tried in Pretoria in 1963, including Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu, Andrew Mlangeni, Ray Mhlaba, Dennis Goldberg and Elias Motsoaledi.

“Kathrada has had his innings in life,” Motaung continued. “It’s unfortunate to see how an era is coming to an end of the people who have championed our cause and suffered immensely for it, like the Rivonia Trialists.”

Motaung didn’t know Kathrada very well on a personal level, although he did meet him a few times at ANC conferences.

“Ahmed had a good presence,” the Chiefs chairman fondly remembers. “He was a person with a strong mind, but also somebody who was very humble and who had a great sense of humour.

“I wish to convey my sincerest condolences to his family and friends during this difficult time. May his soul rest in peace.”