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Last remaining Rivonia Trialist Andrew Mlangeni honours late Denis Goldberg

Goldberg, who had been battling lung cancer and a heart condition, died at his Cape Town home in Hout Bay on Wednesday night at the age of 87.

FILE: Rivonia Trialists Andrew Mlangeni (R) and Denis Goldberg (L). Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG - Political activist Andrew Mlangeni on Thursday said anti-apartheid veteran and follow Rivonia Trialist Denis Goldberg’s lifelong contribution to the liberation struggle should serve as a reminder to all South Africans about the cost of freedom.

Goldberg, who had been battling lung cancer and a heart condition, died at his Cape Town home in Hout Bay on Wednesday night at the age of 87.

Mlangeni and Goldberg were the remaining anti-apartheid stalwarts who were convicted of treason in 1964 alongside late former President Nelson Mandela.

They stood trial together in Rivonia during the struggle of what would become the turning point in the battle against apartheid.

Distraught and emotional, Mlangeni recalled the bravery and boldness Goldberg showed as one the youngest to stand trial in 1964.

“He was very brave and bold in telling the court what he stood for. He was saying if a black man is free in South Africa, we will all be free,” Mlangeni said.

Mlangeni said Goldberg’s commitment to end oppression was a task that many in his position feared.

“My heart is very sore because he decided to join black people in fighting for our freedom and for the liberation of South Africa as a whole. We’ve lost a man who had sacrificed himself completely in fighting for freedom,” he said.

While details around Goldberg’s funeral still needed to be finalised, Mlangeni said it was his deepest regret that the fallen hero passed away during the national state of disaster due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which prohibits mass gatherings.

Meanwhile, the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s CEO Sello Hattang said it was Goldberg’s deep caring for the poor that had again reminded him that more should be done for the most vulnerable.

“He talked passionately about a resilient inequality as the greatest obstacle to transformation and expressed relief that we again have a leadership in South Africa which is up for the challenge,” he said.

Struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada was one of Goldberg’s closest friends and the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation said, unfortunately, it wouldn’t be able to celebrate his life as they would have wanted due to the lockdown regulations.

“The Kathrada Foundation is deeply honoured by its historical association with the late Denis Goldberg. He will be remembered not as a white man living and enjoying enormous socio-economic and political benefits under the system of apartheid, but as a truly African revolutionary who was prepared to make the supreme sacrifice for the liberation of the black majority in South Africa,” the foundation said in a statement.

Both foundations said Goldberg should be praised for his unwavering commitment to the struggle, serving 22 years in prison.