NADEL press release: Ahmed Mohammed Kathrada, an Ethical Leader and Inspiration to All


It is with great regret and sorrow that the National Association of Democratic Lawyers (NADEL) learns of the death of the struggle icon Ahmed Mohammed Kathrada. Ahmed Kathrada, affectionately known as Uncle Kathy to most, wholeheartedly dedicated his life to the liberation of the masses of South Africans. He sacrificed his own freedom, family, education and wellbeing for the sake of the oppressed majority during Apartheid era. His political career began as early as the age of ten (10) and spent the majority of his adult life as a political prisoner. His was a life entirely dedicated to the eradication of racism and oppression.

Kathrada’s death comes at a time when Africa is plagued with economic and political failures, corruption and misgovernment. These problems are not necessarily a result of incapacity or lack of skill by its leaders but rather the absence or lack of ethics amongst them. Perhaps it would be pertinent at this point to define this “good and ethical leader”, an ethical leader is a servant leader, one who seeks to advance the interest of those she/he leads above her/his own.

Leaders today are more concerned with amassing power and wealth as opposed to the greater good of society. 4th century B.C. Chanakaya, an adviser to the leader of the Maurya Dynasty of India writes as follows:
“The king [leader] shall consider as good, not what pleases himself but what pleases his subjects [followers] … the king [leader] is a paid servant and enjoys the resources of the state together with the people."

There is a clear vacuum in good ethical leaders today, not just in government but in business and society at large. Societal values are limited to self-serving interests. Society is more concerned with gathering as much wealth as possible.
Kathrada was an example of this creature we call an “ethical Leader”. What shaped Kathrada and allowed him to play such an influential role in the fight against Apartheid and the emancipation of people in South Africa was his character and leadership style. He was a kind, humble and compassionate soul who remained a servant of the people. His life was a sacrifice for the liberation of the poor and marginalised. He elevated the people’s freedom above his own. Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.

As we celebrate the life of this great leader let us be inspired by his sacrifice and seek to emulate him as we strive to build a better South Africa and world. We are all leaders in our own right; let us strive to live for higher value then self. Let us all be the change we wish to see in the world.

We send our deepest and most sincere condolences to all South Africans, his family (more especially his wife) and close friends.
We Say – Hambakahle wemkhonto wesizwe – farewell spear of the Nation. We are eternally grateful for your love and sacrifice.

By: Memory Sosibo
Publicity Secretary, NADEL Executive Committee,
Contact: 081 710 7910