Goldberg comes home

2002-05-03 20:13

London - Anti-apartheid activist Dennis Goldberg is returning to South Africa after 17 years abroad - to a new occupation as ministerial advisor.

His desire to return home was strengthened by the sudden death of his daughter Hilary in London last week. He and his new German wife will settle in Cape Town, where Hilary was born. Here he will be advising Minister Ronnie Kasrils on water affairs.

Goldberg was sentenced to life imprisonment along with former President Nelson Mandela and six other ANC leaders at the Rivonia trial in 1964. He went into exile in London in 1985, after spending almost 22 years in prison.

Goldberg said on Friday that he felt the time was right to return. He wanted to settle in his "home town", Cape Town, where his daughter was born.

The 47-year-old Hilary, who owned a crèche in London, died as a result of a blood-clot last Friday. She is survived by a 9-year-old son. When she was eight, she moved to London with her mother Esmé and brother David after her father's arrest.

"I have the desire to go home. The time is right and I need a breather," Goldberg said on Friday.

He is currently the director of Community Heart in London. The organisation manages health and educational projects in South Africa and in some of its neighbouring countries.

Just married/b>

He married Edelgard Nkobi three weeks ago - two years after the death of his first wife. Nkobi is the widow of the eldest son of the late ANC treasury general TT Nkobi.

"I had plans for a peaceful retirement in Cape Town, but then received Kasrils's offer. I said yes, as I wanted to become involved in service delivery in South Africa in any case.

"I have not signed a contract yet but I am very excited. And yes, I believe 69 is a good age for a new occupation," he joked.

Former President Nelson Mandela in his biography, Long Walk to Freedom, says Goldberg screamed "Life, life to live!" inside the courtroom when they were sentenced to life imprisonment.

Hilary said in a BBC interview two years ago that she and her family were not bitter about their suffering during the apartheid years. "It made better people of us," she said on a Radio 4 programme.