Late struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada.
Were he alive today, Rivonia Treason trialist Ahmed Kathrada would marvel at witnessing companies and entrepreneurs forking out close to R2 million in just one gala dinner in his honour and legacy.
In a colourful event marked by speeches, music and traditional dancing, held at the Sandton Convention Centre over the weekend, to raise funds for the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation (AKF), AKF executive director Neeshan Balton confirmed that contributions made reached R1.8 million.
These included the purchase of dinner tables, financial contributions and an auction of historic memorabilia.
The auction saw: A Nelson Mandela portrait by Yiull Damaso – depicting him inside his Robben Island cell – donated by entrepreneur Ketso Gordhan – being bought for R80 000.
– A framed and signed photograph of Mandela and Amitabh Bachchan of Bollywood fame, fetching a cool R60 000.
– A signed copy of Madiba’s autobiography coffee table book, entitled Nelson Mandela being sold for R100 000.
-Two Robben Island coffee table books on 300 trips made by Kathrada, the late anti-apartheid struggle stalwart Laloo Chiba and former president Kgalema Motlanthe, to their former prison, going for R130 000.
-A signed Liverpool champions shirt, donated by Shireen Ebrahim, sold for R100 000. In his address, SA Revenue Service commissioner Edward Kieswetter spoke of his “saddest moment” – a few hours before Kathrada passed away after surgery on March 28, 2017, aged 87.
Kieswetter said: “I felt a sense of deep sadness that we denied him his gift to know that his life would bear fruit. “We were faced with a situation where monies meant to build schools, clinics and safe toilets, were being stolen.
“In honour of his sacrifices, we can still do something to honour his life.”
The who’s who of business and politics, graced the occasion. Among them was leader of the June 16, 1976 uprisings Murphy Morobe, world-acclaimed film maker Anant Singh, business person Jayendra Naidoo, ANC Veterans League president Snuki Zikalala, pharmaceutical industry executive Stavros Nicolaou, business couple Trevor Manuel and wife Maria Ramos; AKF chairperson Derek Hanekom and wife Trish.
Violinist Dineo Matsepe and the Dinaledi Tsa Mmino and the Tribhangi Dance Academy, entertained guests.
There was an atmosphere of camaraderie when a group of anti-apartheid struggle veterans were called to the stage for a group photograph and to witness the cutting of what would have been Kathrada’s 90th birthday cake.
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