The University of Cape Town (UCT) joins the nation and the international community in mourning the passing of alumnus Denis Goldberg, one of South Africa’s greatest stalwarts in the fight against apartheid.
Goldberg was one of the Rivonia trialists along with Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, Walter Sisulu and others. He spent more than two decades of his life behind bars.
As a UCT alumnus, Goldberg represented the very best of the university’s values and culture. Born in Cape Town in 1933, he completed his basic education in Observatory and proceeded to study at UCT, where he graduated in 1955 with a BSc in civil engineering.
In 2019 the university was pleased to bestow a DScEng (honoris causa) on a person of his calibre.
“I am very proud that my university, my alma mater, my sweet mother is, at last, recognising the fact that a guy who made weapons to put an end to the state violence needs recognition,” Goldberg remarked at the time.
‘Selfless fighting spirit’
“The struggle icon and philanthropist will be remembered for his exceptional and selfless fighting spirit, activism and as being a symbol of a promise for a liberatory future,” said UCT Vice-Chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng.
“May his undying lasting legacy live on and continue to inspire generations for years to come. We celebrate the life and substantial contributions of an extraordinary South African.”
“We celebrate the life and substantial contributions of an extraordinary South African.”
A moral beacon
Despite the multiple influential positions Goldberg held in the state and the ruling party, he always retained the ability to be deeply critical of those transgressing what he saw as core values. He was a fierce critic of state capture by external forces, and of the degrading of the moral stature of the party he joined as a young man – for which he said he was prepared to die.
As one of the central figures in the liberation of our country, Goldberg is considered a moral beacon for the new South Africa.
Throughout his life he was fearless in speaking truth to power.
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