South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Interview Segment

Ahmed Kathrada interviewed by Bob Vassen and Peter Alegi
March 24, 2006 East Lansing, Michigan, United States.


"Among the 20 of us were people mostly who were not Communists ... we even had anti-communists ..., but having been found guilty under the Suppression of Communism Act, they were now declared Communists." [5:14]

The Defiance Campaign continued until the penalties imposed by the government became too harsh. Although the campaign did not lead to any laws being repealed, it built stronger multiracial collaboration against apartheid.

Born in 1929, Ahmed “Kathy” Kathrada dropped out of high school to do political work, participating in many campaigns of the Congress Alliance. He was active in the Transvaal Indian (Youth) Congress and the South African Communist Party and was detained and put under house arrest. He went underground in 1963 and was one of the accused at the Rivonia Trial, although he was not a member of the ANC military wing. He spent 18 years on Robben Island, where he earned two BA degrees and helped Nelson Mandela edit his autobiography. In 1994, he was elected to Parliament and was a senior advisor to President Mandela.

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