Anti-apartheid veteran and member of the Rivonia Trial Denis Goldberg has passed away at the age of 87. According to family, Goldberg passed away in his Hout Bay home around midnight on Thursday, April 29. He was suffering from lung cancer.
The Denis Goldberg Legacy Foundation Trust confirmed the news, saying: “His was a life well lived in the struggle for freedom in South Africa. We will miss him.”
Goldberg is well-known for his anti-apartheid efforts. He was a member of the Congress of Democrats and the Communist Party in the 1950s, and joined the technical office of the ANC’s military wing Umkhonto we Sizwe (Spear of the Nation), where he became the weapon maker for Operation Mayibuye.
He was among the 10 people who faced charges of treason during the Rivonia Trials of 1963-1964, often considered the trial that changed South Africa. Other trialists included Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and Ahmed Kathrada, who were all put on trial for their anti-apartheid actions.
Goldberg was found guilty and sentenced to four terms of life imprisonment. He served 22 years at the Pretoria Central Prison before being released. After gaining freedom, he went into exile in the UK but returned after apartheid was formally abolished. He continued to serve the ANC as its spokesperson throughout his exile.
The only surviving Rivonia Trialist is Andrew Mlangeni.