Goldberg secures the future

Anti-apartheid activist Denis Goldberg.

Hout Bay resident and one of the two surviving Rivonia Trialists, Denis Goldberg, has embarked on a legacy project to secure the future of impoverished youth in Hout Bay.

The House of Hope seeks to safeguard these futures through music lessons, performing arts, IT and computer skills, life and language skills, creating some 25 permanent jobs in the process.

Through the Denis Goldberg Foundation, the struggle icon is aiming to raise R6 million to buy and develop the beautiful Cape Dutch home in which the Kronendal Music Academy (KMA) is currently housed.

Mr Goldberg, 84, has been diagnosed with lung cancer, and while he is under no illusions about the severity of his illness, he is determined to see the House of Hope come to fruition.

Mr Goldberg has come to be known as an avid art collector, his collection comprising more than 200 pieces in addition to hundreds of donated CDs, DVDs and literature about art, particularly works stemming from the Western Cape, Central Africa and West Africa.

Speaking to the Sentinel at his Harbour Heights home, the sharp-witted octogenarian explained that the initial intention was to put up the pieces for auction, the sales from which could be used to fund NGOs around Hout Bay.

“However, I was advised by artists and gallery owners that I couldn’t break up the collection because it represented Denis Goldberg’s vision of the new South Africa,” he said.

“To keep it together, we would need our own institution which is how the idea came about.”

Mr Goldberg said given the high profile of such an institution it would also attract local and international tourists to Hout Bay.

The trustees of his foundation have also started looking for additional land in Hout Bay for facilities, and have identified a piece of property near the Hout Bay Museum for these purposes.

Having been a long-time patron of the KMA, he is determined to ensure its continuity for future generations. “I want to create holiday clubs for the young people of Hout Bay. It is important that young people don’t get caught up in the growing drug culture.

“I’ve spent my life trying to get young people together, so we can get over racial divisions in our country. I know it is going to take generations, but I believe it can be done.”

He conceded the House of Hope was his “last big project”.

“We are asking people to contribute, but we also want them to be part of it.”

To date, the response from people had “excited” Mr Goldberg, with substantial donations coming in from the UK and other parts of the world, in addition to donations from South Africans. “Help in kind is also going to be important in this project,” he said.

From his home’s vantage point, he is able to drink the magnificent panorama of the mountains and ocean below, as well as neighbouring Hangberg.

While he gets a thrill every time he sees the Hangberg soccer field, a facility he played a major role in getting off the ground, he is also concerned about the poverty around him.

“To defeat the poverty, we need unity in action. People may say I am privileged, but I know what it is to serve others. My concern is for people, not individuals.” Mr Goldberg, who in recent years has been outspoken in his criticism of President Jacob Zuma, is also concerned that support of the ANC had tapered off in Hout Bay.

“Unfortunately the local community views the ANC leaders as dishonest. Jacob Zuma used to be a genuine hero for me but when the arms deal story broke, I removed the poster I had of him from my wall. I find what has happened under his presidency unacceptable.”

“The levels of unemployment and the dominant role of drug lords in Hangberg shows the ANC has given up on Hangberg. This for me is a tragedy.”

Turning back to his love of art, Mr Goldberg spoke passionately of an exhibition he has brought to South Africa, The Third World in World War II, recently held at the Castle of Good Hope before moving on to Pretoria and Johannesburg.

“In South Africa, we know of the exploits of South Africans fighting during the war, but how many people know that more than 80 000 black and 40 000 coloured South Africans played a part in defeating the Nazis?

“It is a tremendous source of pride for the country that all South Africans played such a role, and we can learn many lessons from that.”

For information on how to donate to the Denis Goldberg Foundation, you can visit http://