A devastated Winnie Madikizela-Mandela said, after hearing news of the passing of former ANC struggle stalwart Ahmed Kathrada at the age of 87, that his death brings “finality to the chapter on the history of our struggle” and that “one, of course, has fears for our country…”

Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife said “this is not just another loss of a struggle stalwart, this was a rehash of Madiba’s passing and it is very, very emotional.” (Watch below.)

She said: “I wish he hadn’t left at this particular time. I can imagine how pained he was that he left at this particular time.

She said that all that the original ANC members had fought for is “not what is going on right now”, and she called it a “tragedy” that Kathrada had lived to see what was happening today.

“We cannot pretend like South Africa is not in crisis,” she said. “Our country is in crisis and anyone who cannot see that is just bluffing themselves.”

Winnie, along with other mourners had gathered Tuesday at the Nelson Mandela Foundation to share memories of the late Ahmed ‘Kathy’ Kathrada who died in hospital after a short illness.

He will be laid to rest on Wednesday at Westpark Cemetery in Johannesburg. 

Although the gathering was to celebrate a life well-lived, the room became very emotional when Winnie was invited to the podium… but could not come forward, possibly due to sadness and a sense of loss.

Her daughter, Zenani Mandela, took to the podium to pay her tribute, but she also failed to contain her sadness and was overwhelmed by tears. 

“There are those people who come into your life and never leave, because they are truly special,” she said with a trembling voice, tears rolling from her eyes.

He was my other father. I have won the fondest memories of him… ever gentle, always self-effacing, but undoubtedly powerful. For many decades, he was one of my father’s closest friends,” she said.

She urged all to keep the legacy of both Kathrada and Nelson Mandela and never forget the sacrifices they made for the country.

Uncle Kathy was my dad’s best friend and his confidant. I arranged for him to spend time with my dad, during those final days. I watched them as they shared the jokes, reminiscing about the past and it is one of my life’s abiding memories,” said Madiba’s daughter.

Another notable tribute today came from a teary former President Thabo Mbeki, who said Kathrada’s dream was to right the wrongs in the ANC. (Watch below.)

The family of Ahmed Kathrada have reportedly asked President Jacob Zuma to NOT speak at his funeral.

EFF’s Floyd Shivambu tweeted: “We commend the Kathrada family for preventing a Thug from addressing the Stalwart’s funeral. The Thug doesn’t deserve the honour.”

EFF leader Julius Malema revealed in a series of tweets what transpired this morning in a meeting between Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe.

He tweeted: “Gwede told him that the President has decided to reshuffle his Cabinet;

“2) PG & MJ [Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas] are going to be removed from the Executive;  The Top 6 respects the Zuma’s  prerogative to appoint and dismiss Ministers;

“3) However officials don’t think it’s a good idea. Speculation is that the duo may be fired tomorrow evening, after Uncle Kathy’s funeral.

“4) JZ will make sure that the funeral is not used as a launching pad for a campaign against him.

“5) During the discussion Gwede confirmed that Zuma wants Brian Molefe as Finance Minister.”

Watch Winnie Mandela

Watch Thabo Mbeki

Watch Julius Malema