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.

Design

Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg is Delicately Weaving Her Name into the International Textiles Space

Recently awarded 'Best New Talent' by Monocle, Sweden-based South African textiles designer Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg talks about her unique ongoing collaborations with African designers and her tremendous love for weaving.

Weaving is one of the oldest practices in textile production. Expertly interlacing yarns over a loom to produce a variety of fabrics is something South African designer Nkuli Mlangeni-Berg knows all too well. The recent recipient of Monocle's "Best New Talent" award, Mlangeni-Berg's love for the African continent, its burgeoning textiles industry and the empowerment of its artisans is at the fore. Succinctly put, she's putting African designers in the textiles space on the map.

Born and bred in Kagiso, Krguersdorp — and having established herself in one of the world's elite design hubs, Sweden — Mlangeni-Berg is currently on a mission to channel back the resources, now, at her disposal to fellow designers across the African continent. Collaboration is at the heart of her craft, one she takes very seriously.

The beauty of her childhood experiences, her Zulu-Ndebele roots and love for South Africa guides Mlangeni-Berg's unique creations that often leave her audience struck by their distinct beauty. In 2017, the designer's Sankara Rug, which referenced the now popular Ndebele patterns and traditional reed dance, was named the "Most Beautiful Object in South Africa" by Design Indaba – a remarkable accomplishment for the then upcoming designer.

Mlangeni-Berg is a huge advocate of weaving the past and the future together, as well as connecting the old with the contemporary. We caught up with her to discuss being a multi award-winning designer, her current projects and her grand hopes for Africa's textiles design space.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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