Denis Goldberg

A Life for Freedom

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From June 1963 to October 1964, ten antiapartheid activists were tried at South Africa's Pretoria Supreme Court. Standing among the accused with Nelson Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada, and Walter Sisulu was Denis Goldberg. Charged under the Sabotage and Suppression of Communism Acts for “campaigning to overthrow the government by violent revolution,” Goldberg was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. The only white man convicted during the infamous Rivonia trial, he played a historic role in the struggle for justice in South Africa.
In this remarkable autobiography, Goldberg discusses growing up acutely aware of the injustice permeating his homeland. He joined the South African Communist Party and helped found the Congress of Democrats. It was his role as an officer in the armed underground wing of the African National Congress (ANC), however, that led to his life sentence — the outcome of which was a staggering twenty-two years behind bars. While he was incarcerated, the racist dogma of apartheid imposed complete separation from his black comrades and colleagues, a segregation that denied him both the companionship and the counsel of his fellow accused.
Recounted with humor and humility, Goldberg's story not only provides a sweeping overview of life in South Africa both during and after apartheid, but also illuminates the experiences of the activists and oppressors whose fates were bound together.
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780 printed pages
Original publication
2016

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