UNISON Branch Administrator meets Denis Goldberg

Nat, me and Denis

(photo: Nat Perez, Vice Chairperson, Community H.E.A.R.T.; Sheila Gobel, UNISON; Denis Goldberg, honorary President, Community H.E.A.R.T.)

Denis Goldberg was guest speaker at ‘A Night for the Children of the Rainbow Nation’ held in the banqueting hall in Glasgow City Chambers on Thursday 21st July, a fundraising charity dinner to raise money for Community H.E.A.R.T. (Community Health Education and Reconstruction Training) which he founded in 1995 and is now honorary President.

Denis was sentenced to 4 life sentences (the only white member of Umkhonto we Sizwe to be arrested and sentenced) alongside his close friend Nelson Mandela and 8 others at the Rivonia Trial which took place between 1963/64.  He spoke of his childhood, his incarceration (he served 22 years in a “whites-only” prison in Pretoria), his being cut off from news for 16 years with no newspapers or radio (there wasn’t television at the time), his friendship with Nelson Mandela, the charity he set up and he criticised corruption in the ANC “the members of the ANC need to renew the leadership from top to bottom”.

Sheila Gobel, Branch Administrator said “having visited Liliesleaf Farm and Robben Island a couple of times it was an honour and privilege to hear him speak”.

Denis is one of only 3 remaining political prisoners from the trial, the others being Ahmed Kathrada and Andrew Mlangeni.  At 83 he still travels from his home in Cape Town to the UK to attend and speak at various events as he has “retired from retirement”.

He received the Freedom of the City of London in January 2016 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-35417265

At the UNISON National Delegates Conference in Scotland in 2010 he was made an honorary member of UNISON.

If anyone would like further information about the charity the Director is Isobel McVicar.

Although based in Manchester they do hold events in London from time to time.

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