He marked the occasion with pupils at a secondary school in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg.
Kathrada says pupils from the school have baked a cake for him on his birthday for the past 2 years. The South African icon says he has a simple birthday wish this year.
"My wish would be, as soon as possible that one can ensure that every child in the country goes to bed with a full stomach, gets up in the morning with a smile, goes to a good school after having a proper breakfast. That would be my biggest birthday wish," he said.
Kathrada, who was sentenced to life imprisonment during the Rivonia Trial, spent 18 years on Robben Island.
Yesterday, Kathrada was honoured with Cape Town's The Freedom of the City award - the highest honour the council could bestow.
He joins other recipients such as former president Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, US President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle.
Watch the video below that shows the icon being celebrated recently at Sastri College in Durban where he launched his new book - Triumph of the Human Spirit.
It's Ahmed Kathrada's 86th birthday. Getting to interview him recently has definitely been a highlight of my journalism career.— Shaun Ryan (@wordsfromshaun) August 21, 2015
Happy 86th birthday to our precious Ahmed 'Kathy' #Kathrada— Sahm Venter (@sahmventer) August 21, 2015
It's the 86th birthday of humble SA legend Ahmed Kathrada, Uncle Kathy, today. I got to spend time with him in Robben Island earlier this year. I asked him for one piece of advice for being such a healthy octogenarian... His advice: end your shower with cold water! #lessonsfromprison
A photo posted by Dave Duarte (@daveduarte) on
(File photo: Gallo Images)
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