Mourners carry the coffin of Ahmed Kathrada.
Mourners carry the coffin of Ahmed Kathrada.

South African anti-apartheid icon Ahmed Kathrada will be laid to rest on Wednesday at Johannesburg's West Park cemetery.

Kathrada, one of Nelson Mandela's closest colleagues in the struggle against white minority rule, died on Tuesday, aged 87, after a short illness following brain surgery.

TRT World's spoke to Tsidi Bishop in Johannesburg for the latest.

President Zuma asked to stay away

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma will not attend the funeral in line with Kathrada's wishes.

While most of the country's leadership will be present, Kathrada's family asked Zuma to skip the event, the president's office said in a statement.

"President Zuma will not attend the funeral and memorial service in compliance with the wishes of the family," the statement said.

After his retirement from politics in 1999, Kathrada kept a low profile, but in recent years had chosen to speak out.

Kathrada was among those tried and jailed alongside Mandela in the 1964 Rivonia trial, which drew worldwide attention to the brutalities of the apartheid regime.

He openly criticised the current African National Congress government of Zuma, which has been accused of corruption, mismanagement and of failing black South Africans.

Last year Kathrada wrote an open letter to Zuma urging him to step down.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies