Denis Goldberg’s legacy lives on in arts centre

This mural in the foyer the Denis Goldberg House of Hope arts and culture education centre features a collage of portraits of the struggle veteran.

The Denis Goldberg House of Hope arts and culture education centre is set to have its official opening on Saturday April 9, two years after the struggle veteran’s death.

Mr Goldberg died at his Hout Bay home just before midnight on April 29, 2020, after a battle with lung cancer (“Farewell Denis Goldberg,” Sentinel News, May 8).

The centre is a place for children from different communities to come together to “dream, to grow, to learn and to enrich their lives”, according to Debbie Budlender, manager for the Denis Goldberg Legacy Foundation Trust.

“It is a joyous moment, even more than a proud one, as opening the building reflects the realisation of Denis’s dream of having an arts and culture education centre for the children and youth of Hout Bay. We have, of course, had a range of activities for the young people of the area for several years, but being able to offer them in our own building makes us a proper centre,” Ms Budlender said.

The centre is on the site of the Hout Bay Museum, but a large gallery has been added with two exhibitions – one on Mr Goldberg’s life and the other displaying his art collection. There is space for dance, music, art-making and other activities, and the gallery opens onto an open-air auditorium.

The foyer, with a mural featuring a collage of art students’ portraits of Mr Goldberg, is, on certain days of the week, a reception and waiting area for Covid vaccinations and boosters that are being given in a small activity room at the centre.

“The venue is also available for others to use – in particular those offering arts and culture activities for children and youth. For example, a week or so ago, the Hout Bay United Football Community used the gallery for their annual ‘kick-off’ meeting,” said Ms Budlender.

Several schools had also shown an interest in holding excursions to the centre, she added.

The son of immigrant parents who were actively opposed to apartheid, Mr Goldberg learned in early childhood to respect all people and became politically active in the struggle against apartheid. As a result of his political work, he was sentenced in the Rivonia Trial of 1963-1964, alongside Nelson Mandela and others, to life imprisonment for participation in the armed struggle against apartheid.

After 22 years in prison, he resumed political activity in 1985. Post-1994, Mr Goldberg set up Community H.E.A.R.T welfare fund in the UK and Germany to support social projects in South Africa.

He lived in Hout Bay for more than two decades and supported many activities, including at the Hout Bay Museum, assisting in the research of the social history of Hout Bay.

While the official opening is still several days off, Ms Budlender invited the public to explore the centre.

“Even if there is an activity happening in the main space, you are welcome to come in and look at the exhibitions and the building more generally, as long as you don’t make those involved in the activity feel like exhibits,” she said.

• The new centre is already open every weekday from 8am to 5pm and on Saturday mornings from 9am to 1pm.