Honorary Degree for freedom fighter who helped change apartheid state



A key player who helped transform South Africa from an apartheid state and served time in prison with Nelson Mandela, has been honoured by Heriot-Watt University. 

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

There are relatively few people who have made such a mark on history. Fewer did so in the face of such risk.

Professor Garry Pender

Whilst 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 sometime in Scotland under the auspices of the Society of Civil and Public Servants.

Now, the renowned figure who helped transform South Africa into a democratic society, has been given an Honorary Degree.

On receiving the accolade, Denis Goldberg said: “Education is important and I thank 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.”

Professor Garry Pender, Deputy Principal and Researcher added: “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.” 

Denis Goldberg received his Honorary Degree on 23 August, at a ceremony in South Africa.