‘This is better than spooking you’: Denis Goldberg gets highest ANC honour

Rivonia triallist Denis Goldberg at his home in Hout Bay on January 23 2019 with Deputy President David Mabuza.
Rivonia triallist Denis Goldberg at his home in Hout Bay on January 23 2019 with Deputy President David Mabuza.
Image: ANC

The ANC will reclaim its former glory, Deputy President David Mabuza told Rivonia triallist Denis Goldberg on Wednesday.

Mabuza visited Goldberg, 85, at his home in Hout Bay, Cape Town, to present him with the ANC’s highest award, Isitwalandwe, which the deputy president received on his behalf at the ANC's January 8 celebration in Durban.

“This award is a very special award. We’re very happy about this man. This man stands for what the ANC was,” said Mabuza.

“I’m not very sure today whether he is happy about the ANC because we might have gone astray many a time along the way. The ANC of their time was the greatest movement.

“We’re trying by all means to emulate them and I’m sure one day we’ll make it. But we are not going to fail you. We’ll try our best to work for the people, especially the downtrodden, the poor of our country.”

Goldberg, the only white member of Umkhonto weSizwe to be sentenced to life imprisonment in 1964 at the Rivonia Trial, said the award was not only for him, but also for his late wife, Esme, and his comrades in the Struggle.

“To be so honoured in my lifetime is better than coming to spook you. I’m happy about what’s happening today. I’m really deeply moved,” he said.

“I think it’s a recognition of the role of a whole generation of people who brought us out of the darkness of apartheid.”

Acting Western Cape ANC chair Khaya Magaxa, who was at the ceremony, said: “[Goldberg] is like Mandela. He’s one of the founders of the generation that fought for freedom for all our people.

“He served his time in Pretoria prison. Because he is white he was cut off from his fellow Rivonia triallists who were on Robben Island. That was psychological cruelty.”

Provincial ANC secretary Faiez Jacobs said: “He is a fighter for social justice. He stood for a struggle that was non-racial. I’m happy that he could achieve this award in his lifetime.”

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