Struggle veteran receives honorary doctorate

Anti-apartheid activist and Hout Bay resident, Denis Goldberg,waspresented with an honorary doctorate from Scotland’s Heriot-Watt University at a special ceremony last week.

The university, which is based in Edinburgh, bestowed the honour on Mr Goldberg, who is suffering from cancer, for his role in transforming South Africa from the apartheid state.

Mr Goldberg was one of the defendants in the Rivonia Trial, along with others including Nelson Mandela. He was sentenced to life imprisonment.

While in prison, he took degrees in public administration, history, geography and library science.

He was half way through a law degree in 1985 when he was released from prison.

He then became an exile in the UK, living in London before spending some time in Scotland under the auspices of the Society of Civil and Public Servants.

Among the dignitaries at the presentation ceremony at the Hout Bay Museum on Thursday August 23 was Western Cape Premier Helen Zille.

Professor Garry Pender, deputy principal and researcher at Heriot-Watt University, said: “We’re delighted that Denis Goldberg is receiving an honorary degree, he has made an outstanding contribution to the people of South Africa.

“There are relatively few people who have made such a mark on history. Fewer did so in the face of such risk. Along with Nelson Mandela, Denis stands out as someone
who set aside personal risk for the wider good. He shared and extended his knowledge to all, exactly what Heriot-Watt embraces.”

On receiving the accolade, Mr Goldberg said education was important and he thanked Heriot-Watt University for the recognition of the work “we did in our prisons to prepare ourselves to build a new post-apartheid society for all the people of South Africa, and support people around the world who struggle for social justice”.

Mr Goldberg is building a centre for the arts, the House of Hope, in Hout Bay (“Goldberg secures the future”, Sentinel News, November 24 2017).