Kathrada Foundation will take DA leadership on visit to Robben Island. Picture: SA History.

The Kathrada Foundation will take members of the Democratic Alliance to Robben Island to fulfill the wishes of late struggle activist Ahmed Kathrada. 

Kathrada wanted the leadership of all opposition parties to tour Robben Island. The visit members of the DA follows the 28th anniversary of the release of most of the Rivonia Trial prisoners (October 15).

Neeshan Balton, Executive Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, said Kathrada indicated that he would like to take the leadership of opposition parties for a tour of Robben Island before his death.

Kathrada had over the years conducted some 300 trips to the Island with guests from around the world. 

“He felt that it was essential that the EFF and DA, especially the younger leadership within their party ranks, understand that depth of struggle associated with our history, in some ways symbolised by Robben Island.” 

In August, Kathrada’s birthday month, the Foundation took the leadership of the EFF for a tour of the Island. On October 30, the DA delegation, including its federal leader, Mmusi Maimane, will accompany several former political prisoners on the tour. Kathrada Foundation Board member Laloo Chiba, who spent 18 years in the isolation section along with Madiba, Sisulu and Kathrada, will lead the tour, accompanied by Mosiuoa ‘Terror’ Lekota, who was imprisoned in the communal section on the Island. Barbara Hogan, also a former political prisoner and Kathrada Foundation Board member, will be part of the delegation, along with Nelson Mandela Foundation CEO Sello Hatang and their Board Chairperson Prof. Njabulo Ndebele. 

“Robben Island was a place where people of various political persuasions were imprisoned over the years. Kathrada would often talk about the robust political debates, which were always framed by a certain respect, despite differing views. 

"I think it is in this spirit of the Island that Kathrada felt the need to ensure people from all political backgrounds, understand its story. Our struggle history is something that belongs to all South Africans and should today shape the way we grapple with socio-political and economic situations,” Balton said.