Denis Goldberg: Anti Aparthied soldier was a stalwart to the end

Mandela and Goldberg
Goldberg is pictured here with his friend Nelson Mandela. He and Mandela were convicted of trying to overthrow the Apartheid state.

A real revolutionary passed two days ago. Denis Goldberg was a Jewish South African viewed as White by the oppressive Apartheid government, he was a member of the (ANC) African National Congress. He proved that there are some friends that stick closer than a brother as his commitment to his Black brothers and sisters waging a life and death fight against the organized White supremacist system of government known as Apartheid, was unwavering.

“I never regretted a day of the life in struggle,” he said in a recent interview with a UK news station.

Goldberg served 22 years in prison for his involvement in the South African anti-apartheid struggle. He was charged and jailed because he and the other brave and courageous souls at the time did not just talk about ending Apartheid, but they organized to fight back economically, politically and militarily.

Goldberg and other were involved with the para-military branch of the ANC, “Umkhonto we Sizwe” or “Spear of the Nation,” serving as a technical officer.

In 1963 he was caught along with others plotting with the armed wing to bring down the Aparthied state. In what came to be known as the Rivonia trial, he along with ten others were charged with terrorism, and working to overthrow the Apartheid government by force. During his trial, he bravely suggested to his co-defendants that he take the fall alone, since the government had confiscated plans for military action that he had drawn up. His fellow comrades refused.

The defendants refused any deal or compromise with the State. The State was the terrorist they asserted and they would make no concessions to it. Goldberg gave not an inch to the Apartheid state which oddly did not sentence him to death, but he and his co-defendants including Nelson Mandela who was already in prison at the time, were given four life sentences.

Goldberg did not serve on Robben Island which held only Blacks, but served his time in a separate White prison under the most brutal conditions, because as a White he was especially despised for being a race traitor, a “kaffir lover.” For people too young to be familiar with Apartheid  and the struggle to end it,  that was the South African Afrikaaners word for Blacks their version of nigger.

Goldberg soldiered on even while in prison, helping his fellow imprisoned fighters and giving courage to those on the outside in the struggle.

In 1985 through the help of his daughter the state of Israel interceded on his behalf and he was released and joined his daughter there. Goldberg promptly denounced Israel for its treatment of the Palestinians and its cozy relationship with the South African apartheid government.

Goldberg quickly wore out his welcome in Israel which likely regretted their efforts to secure his release and eventually went to London where he rejoined his wife and traveled much of Europe and North America rallying the outside world against Apartheid. He was a real player in the international Anti Apartheid Movement at one point serving as a special envoy in the United Nations Anti Apartheid Committee.

After Apartheid was ended he returned after a time to South Africa and worked with a governmental ministry to help where he could.

Goldberg founded Health Education and Reconstruction Training (H.E.A.R.T.), a nongovernmental organization that supports local initiatives aimed at improving health, education and reconstruction in contemporary South Africa.

True to form he boldly called out ANC corruption calling for a return to moral leadership and a house cleaning of the former revolutionary organization from top to bottom.

In 2019 Goldberg was awarded the ANC’s highest honor “ Isitwalandwe/Seaparankwe.” Albert Luthuli received the first award and Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu and Joe Slovo are among the distinguished fighters that have been also honored.

According to South African History Online, ““Isitwalandwe,” translated, means “the one who wears the plumes of the rare bird,” which was traditionally bestowed only on the bravest warriors of the people, on those who distinguished themselves in the eyes of all the people for exceptional qualities of leadership and heroism.”

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said this about him in tribute, “His commitment to ethical leadership was unflinching and even during his advanced age, he formed part of the movement of veterans of the struggle calling for the reassertion of the moral center of society. He dedicated his life to achieving the better life we enjoy today and his revolutionary contribution reinforced the non-racial character of our struggle and of our democratic dispensation”.

Denis Rosenberg PRESENTE!!!

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