Denis was born in Cape Town in April 1933. A son to political communist activists, Denis and his wife had joined political movements aimed at educating and politicising people. Although being part of such a movement was not illegal, he was often harassed by the Security Police. At that point Denis had worked with the likes of Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, a Namibian anti-apartheid activist, and well-known black academic Z.K Matthews. After the Security Police found out about his involvement with the movement "Congress of the People" he was fired from his full time job.
Perhaps he is most remembered for the famous Rivonia Trial in 1963. Alongside Denis, the co-accused included Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and Ahmed Kathrada. Ten were accused in total, with eight convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment at Robben Island. While they served their time on Robben Island, Denis served 22 years at Pretoria Central Prison. After being released from prison in February 1985, Denis reunited with his wife and children in Israel. He went into exile in London, and returned to South Africa in 2002.
Denis' achievements and accolades are as long as his purposeful life lived. However, the greatest award he was given was the ANC's highest honour 'Isithwalandwe' which he received in 2019.
Why not use this opportunity to learn more about the life and legacy of Denis Goldberg, by watching the 2010 documentary titled "South Africa: Denis Goldberg Against Apartheid" here.
Today, President Cyril Ramaphosa paid tribute to Goldberg stating, "His revolutionary contribution reinforced the non-racial character of our struggle and of our democratic dispensation."
While South Africa mourns the loss of yet another anti-apartheid hero, one of Denis Goldberg's most popular quotes from 2017 still rings true to this day: "I'm free to be free. I'm not free. To be free you have to advance the freedom of others and respect it. We're not there yet."
Rest in eternal peace Denis Goldberg.
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