South African varsity confers doctorate on Indian-origin freedom fighter

Pretoria, Sep (IANS) Eighty-four-year-old South African political activist and freedom fighter of Indian descent Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada, who spent time in jail with Nelson Mandela, has been conferred an doctorate degree by the University of South Africa (UNISA) here.

In 1964, alongwith Mandela and other South African greats Rivonia Triallists, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki, Kathrada was sentenced to life imprisonment. He served most of his sentence on Robben Island and was released in 1989 after 26 years of incarceration.

Whilst in prison, Kathrada pursued his studies through through the distance mode and obtained BA degrees in history and criminology and another in library science and African politics.

He also wrote a biography of Mandela while in jail.

"When the prison authorities found some of the original manuscript of Madiba's autobiography, which had comments by Walter Sisulu and me, we were punished for abusing our study privileges and we were barred from studying for four years," Kathrada said.


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