Rivonia Trialist Denis Goldberg to be awarded honorary doctorate by UCT

2019-07-04 12:46
Denis Goldberg.

Denis Goldberg. (Gallo Images / Beeld / Theana Breugem)

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WATCH: Rivonia trialist Denis Goldberg awarded honorary doctorate by Scottish university

2018-08-24 10:00

Heriot-Watt University, a Scottish institution, presents struggle activist Denis Goldberg with an honorary doctorate in Cape Town. Watch. WATCH

Rivonia Trialist Denis Goldberg will be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Cape Town (UCT).

Vice Chancellor Mamokgethi Phakeng said in a communiqué that Goldberg was considered a moral beacon for the new South Africa.

The honorary doctorate is in recognition of his "courageous and selfless role in the anti-apartheid struggle over decades, which saw him becoming one of the central figures in the liberation of our country".

READ: ANC honours Rivonia trialist Denis Goldberg

Goldberg, 86, graduated from UCT in 1955 with a BSc in civil engineering.

"He was an anti-apartheid activist and a member of the Modern Youth Society; he served the Congress of Democrats as treasurer and chairperson at various times and he was active on an organising committee for the Congress of the People," Phakeng said.

"His political activism led to his dismissal from his job on the South African Railways, and in 1960 he was detained for four months and declared a banned person. Three years later, he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe as a technical officer and worked on the plan for Operation Mayibuye."

Goldberg was one of 10 who faced charges of treason in 1963 after a raid on Liliesleaf Farm. He was found guilty on charges, including conspiracy and sabotage, during the infamous Rivonia Trial held at the Palace of Justice in Pretoria from October, 1963, to and June, 1964.

"As the only white person convicted, he was isolated from his comrades and imprisoned in Pretoria," Phakeng said.

WATCH: Rivonia Trialist Denis Goldberg awarded honorary doctorate by Scottish university

'Goldberg represents the very best of this institution's values'

While behind bars, he obtained a degree in public administration in 1969, a BA in 1975, and a degree in library science in 1981.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment, but was released in 1985. He then served in the London Mission of the ANC as its spokesperson until 1994.

"He returned to South Africa in 2002 and served as a special advisor to two successive ministers of water Affairs. Despite the multiple influential positions Goldberg held in the state and party, he has always retained the ability to be deeply critical of those transgressing what he sees as the core values of the ruling party," Phakeng said.

"He has been 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. Throughout his life he has been fearless in speaking truth to power."

Goldberg is expected to receive his honorary doctorate at a graduation ceremony on July 12.

"As a UCT alumnus, Goldberg represents the very best of this institution's values and culture. We are pleased that the university will bestow an honorary doctorate on a person of his calibre."

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