South African anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada, a Robben Island prisoner and one of Nelson Mandela’s closest colleagues in the struggle against white rule, has died aged 87.
He died in hospital in Johannesburg following a short illness after brain surgery.
Kathrada spent 26 years and three months in prison, 18 of which were on Robben Island. After the end of apartheid, he served from 1994-99 as parliamentary counsellor to President Mandela in the first African National Congress (ANC) government.
His activism against the white-minority apartheid regime started at the age of 17, when he was one of 2,000 “passive resisters” arrested in 1946 for defying laws that discriminated against Indian South Africans.