News Brief

Ahmed Kathrada, Champion of the South African Freedom Struggle, Has Passed Away

South African anti-apartheid revolutionary,Ahmed Kathadra, has passed away at the age of 87.

Ahmed Kathrada, champion of the South African freedom struggle has passed away at the age of 87.


Earlier this morning, The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation announced that "Kathrada passed away peacefully after a short period of illness, following surgery to the brain."

“This is great loss to the ANC, the broader liberation movement and South Africa as a whole. Internationally, he was staunch in his support for the Palestinian struggle. ‘Kathy’ was an inspiration to millions in different parts of the world,” said Neeshan Balton, the foundation's director.

Kathrada was charged with treason alongside Nelson Mandela during the Rivonia Trial of 1963 and 1964. He was sentenced to life in prison and served 18 years at Robben Island before joining Mandela at Pollsmoor Prison in 1982. He served a total of 26 years and three months in prison before being released.

Kathadra remained dedicated to the anti-apartheid struggle upon his release. He served as the parliamentary counsellor to President Mandela in the first African National Congress (ANC) from 1994 to 1999.

“Comrade Kathy was a gentle, humane and humble soul. He was a determined revolutionary who gave his entire life to the liberation struggle in our country,” said Derek Hanekom, chair of The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation.

“He was a man of remarkable gentleness, modesty and steadfastness,” said former Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

Interview

Interview: The Awakening of Bas

We talk to Bas about The Messenger, Bobi Wine, Sudan, and the globalized body of Black pain.

The first thing you notice when you begin to listen to The Messenger—the new investigative documentary podcast following the rise of Ugandan singer, businessman and revolutionary political figure Bobi Wine—is Bas' rich, paced, and deeply-affecting storytelling voice.

Whether he is talking about Uganda's political landscape, painting a picture of Bobi Wine's childhood, or drawing parallels between the violence Black bodies face in America and the structural oppression Africans on the continent continue to endure at the hands of corrupt government administrations, there is no doubt that Bas (real name Abbas Hamad) has an intimate understanding of what he's talking about.

We speak via Zoom, myself in Lagos, and him in his home studio in Los Angeles where he spends most of his time writing as he cools off from recording the last episode of The Messenger. It's evident that the subject matter means a great deal to the 33-year-old Sudanese-American rapper, both as a Black man living in America and one with an African heritage he continues to maintain deep ties with. The conversation around Black bodies enduring various levels of violence is too urgent and present to ignore and this is why The Messenger is a timely and necessary cultural work.

Below, we talk with Bas aboutThe Messenger podcast, Black activism, growing up with parents who helped shape his political consciousness and the globalized body of Black pain.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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