South Africa: Overcoming Apartheid

Dennis Goldberg

(1933 - )

Leading member of Congress of Democrats and political activist who was sentenced with Mandela and others to life imprisonment at the Rivonia Treason Trial.

Dennis Goldberg, an engineer by training, was born in Cape Town. He was a Executive member of the Congress of Democrats, allied to the ANC in the Congress Alliance from the mid-1950’s.

During the State of Emergency Goldberg and his mother were detained for four months. After his release he was dismissed from his job for his political activism. In 1963 he was served with a stringent banning order.

Goldberg was tried from June 1963 to October 1964 in the Pretoria Supreme Court along with Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and others in the Rivonia Trial. Goldberg was charged under the Sabotage and Suppression of Communism Acts for ‘campaigning to overthrow the Government by violent revolution and for assisting an armed invasion of the country by foreign troops’. The charge sheet contained 193 acts of sabotage allegedly carried out by persons recruited by the accused in their capacity as members of the High Command of uMkhonto we Sizwe.

Goldberg was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment in Pretoria Local Prison. At the time of his imprisonment his wife, Esme, and two children were living in Britain. He served 16 years of his sentence before being released.

This biography is from South African History Online. Used by permission. 
AODL African Studies Center MSU Matrix NEH