A life-sized statue of anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada has been unveiled at the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site in Maropeng, Gauteng.
The sculpture has joined sculptures of other icons such as Bantu Steve Biko, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela as well as Oliver and Adelaide Tambo, among others.
The project was a joint effort between the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation and the National Heritage Project.
Kathrada Foundation Board chairperson Derek Hanekom says, “It’s not only about the unveiling of Uncle Kathy’s statue, but seeing all these statues, the 100 statues, which makes an incredibly impressive collection of statues depicting a long period of our history, 350 years of liberation history.”
“We believe that every South African should come here, not only for the statue collection, but of course for Maropeng itself which gives the world’s most prolific evidence of where we all come from,” adds Hanekom.
The project is part of The Long March to Freedom initiative, which honours those who opposed the oppression of Black people in South Africa from the early 1700s to the country’s first democratic dispensation ushered in April 1994.
CEO of the National Heritage Project Dali Tambo says, “Each time we unveil or put in a new icon into The Long March to Freedom, it marks the end of a first phase for us, and that phase consists of deep research, both historical, photo-graphical and anecdotal.”
“The first phase of about taking him [Kathrada] from the pages of history in which he walked the history of South Africa and placing him appropriately into the heritage of South Africa…” Tambo adds.
Watch full unveiling speech:
Additional reporting by: Okuhle Magcaba