Statement of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation (TMF) on the passing of Comrade Denis Goldberg.
The Board, Advisory Council, staff and the Patron of the TMF, President Thabo Mbeki, join other South Africans in conveying our deepest condolences to the family of Rivonia Trialist, Isithwalandwe/ Seaparankoe and Esteemed Member of the Order of Luthuli, Denis Theodore Goldberg and to his movement, the African National Congress (ANC).
Because of his family history, Goldberg demonstrated a strong sense of justice from an early age which inspired his early activism in the Modern Youth Society. He later joined and soon became an Executive Member of the Congress of Democrats and the South African Communist Party. In 1961, he was amongst the first recruits of uMkhonto weSizwe (MK), forming part of its command structures, in the Cape Province, with the likes of Looksmart Ngudle and Percy Mda. He was arrested in 1963 with the High Command of MK and sentenced in 1964 to life imprisonment, and actually served 22 years.
No sooner had he been released from prison in 1985 than he resumed his political work as part of the ANC in London, where he had joined his family. He immersed himself in the work of the Anti-Apartheid Movement, representing and speaking on behalf of the ANC on numerous occasions, including at the United Nations. He was awarded the Albert Luthuli Peace Prize by a large group of American organisations in recognition of his contribution to the struggle to end Apartheid.
Denis Goldberg belonged to a generation of titans whose selfless sacrifices restored our humanity by leading us to freedom. It is a testament to his deep sense of selflessness that he never sought special recognition or harboured any sense of entitlement to positions of leadership due to his contribution to the struggle for liberation. Instead, he chose to continue working directly with the people through the Community HEART, a non-profit organisation he founded in 1995.
As we celebrate the life of the esteemed Denis Goldberg, navigating the murky waters occasioned by the Coronavirus and Covid-19, may it serve as an inspiration to us all. Let us reach out with open hands of solidarity to our brothers and sisters, especially those in less fortunate circumstances.
May the soul of the outstanding patriot and revolutionary, Denis Goldberg, rest in eternal peace!
Issued by the Thabo Mbeki Foundation
April 30, 2020
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