Who is Denis Goldberg? Bio, Age, Wiki, Cause of Death, Activist, Wife, Children, Net Worth

Denis Goldberg Bio – Wiki

Denis Goldberg was a South African social campaigner, who was active in the struggle against apartheid. He was imprisoned for 22 years, along with other key members of the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

He was born on 11 April 1933 in Cape Town, South Africa.’ A giant has fallen’: anti-apartheid activist Denis Goldberg dies aged 87.


He grew up in a family that, unlike most white families at that time, welcomed people of all races into their house. His parents, Annie and Sam Goldberg were both born in London, the children of Lithuanian Jews who emigrated to England in the latter half of the 19th century.

Both parents were politically active communists while living in London, and after moving to Cape Town played an active role in the local Woodstock Branch of the South African Communist Party, while Sam ran a series of small businesses.


In March 1950, at aged 16, Goldberg began his studies in Civil Engineering at the University of Cape Town.


Esme was a committee member of the non-racially segregated Modern Youth Society (MYS), through which Denis became friends with Andimba Toivo Ya Toivo, who later co-founded SWAPO (South West African People’s Organisation) and became one of the later leaders of an independent Namibia.

The MYS aimed to raise awareness and solidarity by various means, including selling the “New Age” newspaper, canvassing door-to-door, and holding night classes to educate and politicize working people.

The Goldbergs also became involved in the Congress of Democrats. Although these activities were not illegal, the couple and other activists were constantly harassed by the Security Police, who were building up dossiers on those involved.

In 1960 he was jailed for four months after his arrest during protests following the shooting dead of 69 demonstrators by police in the Sharpeville massacre. On his release, he argued for the escalation of the fight against apartheid, and he became an official in the newly formed military wing of the African National Congress.

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Goldberg was arrested again in 1963 when the police raided a meeting of leading activists at Liliesleaf Farm, in the Rivonia suburb in the north of Johannesburg, and he was charged with organizing a campaign of “violent revolution”. The same raid led to Mandela’s conviction and life sentence.

Released in 1985, Goldberg traveled to London where he raised support for the struggle against apartheid. He returned to South Africa in 2002.

In recent years Goldberg worked to raise funds for the House of Hope, a space to support young people in impoverished communities around the suburb of Hout Bay, in Cape Town.

Wife & Children

He married Esme Bodenstein in January 1954. Their daughter Hilary was born in 1955 and their son David in 1957.

Cause of Death

Denis Goldberg, the veteran South African anti-apartheid activist who was a close associate of Nelson Mandela and who spent 22 years in prison after being jailed on treason charges in 1964, has died aged 87.

A statement from Goldberg’s family and the Denis Goldberg Legacy Foundation Trust said: “Denis Goldberg passed away just before midnight on Wednesday. His was a life well-lived in the struggle for freedom in South Africa. We will miss him.”

He had lung cancer and diabetes and died peacefully at his home in Hout Bay.

“A giant has fallen. A truly great South African,” said Eusebius McKaiser, a radio host and journalist.

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