JOHANNESBURG: Ahmed Kathrada, an 87-year-old Indian-origin anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, remains critical after undergoing a surgery, his foundation said, describing as "fake news" the reports that he passed away.
Kathrada underwent surgery a fortnight ago for blood clots in his brain.
"We condemn these rumours and request the public to refrain from reposting or spreading fake news or any updates that cannot be verified," said Nishan Balton, the Director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, who earlier this week confirmed that there had been complications following the surgery which had slowed down Kathrada's recovery process.
Kathrada, who frequently refers to Mandela as his 'elder brother' is one of only three surviving political prisoners who were sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island together with him after the infamous Rivonia Trial of 1964. The others are Andrew Mlangeni and Denis Goldberg.
All of them played major roles after their release and Mandela's election as the first democratic President of South Africa in 1994.
"We reiterate our commitment to providing regular and accurate updates about Kathrada's condition both to the media and the public," Balton added as he thanked people who have for the past week held mass vigils and prayers across the country.
Balton encouraged people to follow the Foundation's social media accounts, where updates to Kathrada's condition will be regularly posted.
Honoured with doctorates from universities all over the globe, Kathrada also received the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award, India's highest honour for foreign nationals of Indian origin, in 2005 from the President of India.
In December last year, Balton announced that a donation to the Foundation of two million rand from the Indian government would kick start a campaign to raise 90 million rand before Kathrada's 90th birthday to establish an endowment fund to support anti-racism struggles globally into the next generation