South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday led the nation in paying tribute to fallen freedom fighter Denis Theodore Goldberg who has died after a long illness.
Goldberg, who lived in Cape Town and was a comrade in arms of Nelson Mandela during the Rivonia Trial that sent the former South African leader and others to Robben Island, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 87.
“This is a sad moment for our nation and a moment for all of us to appreciate Denis Goldberg’s brave dedication to our struggle and his lifelong activism in the interest of – and in the physical presence of – poor and vulnerable communities in our country,” the president said.
Goldberg’s first experience of prison life was alongside his political activist mother who had been detained for four months, Ramaphosa recalled.
“Such experiences failed to intimidate him. Instead, it fuelled his determination that the liberation movement should use all strategies at its disposal, including armed resistance, to end apartheid,” the president said.
He said Goldberg’s “commitment to ethical leadership was unflinching.”
“Even during his advanced age, he formed part of the movement of veterans of the struggle calling for the reassertion of the moral centre of society.”
Goldberg, who was of Jewish descent, was honoured with the National Order of Luthuli for his commitment to the struggle against apartheid and service to the people of South Africa.