Johannesburg - People of all races took part in the Struggle for a non-racial South Africa. Sadly, sometimes this was forgotten.
Rivonia trial accused Denis Goldberg said this on Tuesday at Liliesleaf Farm in Rivonia, Sandton, where he - along with 18 other ANC leaders - were arrested in a dramatic raid by police on July 11, 1963 for their role in the armed liberation Struggle.
On June 11, 1964, eight of the 10 people who were eventually charged were sentenced to life imprisonment.
And on Tuesday, as 81-year-old Goldberg and his fellow accused Andrew Mlangeni reflected on the ideals of the Struggle they said they were proud to have been part of, they also reflected on the lessons the youth of today needed to keep in mind.
They returned to the site of their arrest exactly 50 years ago to launch, along with the SA Gold Coin Exchange, the Liliesleaf Rivonia Ten gold medallion, which was auctioned off on Tuesday night.
The medallion fetched R50 000, more than double its worth of R23 000, at a gala dinner held at Tintswalo at Waterfall in Kyalami.
It features the names of the 10 on one side in the order of the accused - Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Goldberg, Govan Mbeki, Ahmed Kathrada, Lionel “Rusty” Bernstein, Raymond Mhlaba, James Kantor, Elias Motsoaledi and Mlangeni. An image of Mandela is on the other side.
Only 1 000 medallions will be minted.
The proceeds of the medallion will go to the Liliesleaf Memory and Legacy Educational Bursary Trust.
“Our struggle wasn’t against whites we were fighting to destroy apartheid,” Mlangeni said.
He said that if the ANC had not launched an armed Struggle when it did, he did not believe the country would be where it is today. “To the youth, we are saying the future is yours… but in order to govern a country, you need education and discipline.”
Liliesleaf chief executive Nicholas Wolpe said the medallion was to honour the selfless Rivonia Ten who fought for a life free of tyranny.
Goldberg added: “What makes us human, in the ubuntu sense of the word, is that when we see something wrong in society, we act to put it right. That is what Liliesleaf is honouring, a group of people who saw something wrong and were prepared to risk everything to put it right.”