Rivo­nia Tri­al­ists speak out

CityPress - - News - ATHANDIWE SABA athandiwe.saba@city­press.co.za

Ahmed Kathrada and fel­low Rivo­nia Trial ac­cused De­nis Gold­berg had some strong words for young and cur­rent South African lead­ers in speeches they gave af­ter be­ing awarded the Free­dom of Sed­ibeng District Mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

On Fri­day, the oc­to­ge­nar­i­ans spoke of how “dis­ap­pointed and dis­turbed” they were that many now thought they were sell­outs.

Gold­berg (82) said af­ter lunch: “We’ve come a long way and peo­ple have the right to their opin­ions, but I do not feel like my life has been wasted as I am still ac­tive in my com­mu­nity and have the right to be im­pa­tient with the cur­rent pace of things too.” The two were sup­posed to be joined by their fel­low for­mer ac­cused An­drew Mlan­geni, but he was in hos­pi­tal with a heart ail­ment.

Ear­lier, Kathrada (86) told South Africans that there re­mained much to be achieved.

“Twenty-one years in the life of an in­di­vid­ual is a long time, but in the life of a na­tion is not a long time,” he said.

“We can never be sat­is­fied; we have achieved quite a lot, but much more still needs to be done. Peo­ple are im­pa­tient – Rhodes must fall, but they haven’t said rain must fall. I agree with their de­mands, but I don’t be­lieve in some of the ac­tions they take.”

Kathrada said he was pleased with how the stu­dents con­ducted them­selves dur­ing the protests, show­ing dis­ci­pline and not be­ing pro­voked with tear gas and wa­ter can­nons.

“When I was in Par­lia­ment a few months ago, I wit­nessed the dis­ci­pline of the stu­dents dur­ing their protest. It’s a trib­ute to some of the young peo­ple who are at the fore­front of the cur­rent strug­gle,” he added. Gold­berg wanted to know why ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion was so ex­pen­sive.

“I’m con­cerned that there are stu­dents who are ca­pa­ble of uni­ver­sity ed­u­ca­tion, but don’t get it, be­cause their fam­i­lies are not able to raise the funds. I know gov­ern­ment has re­sponded by al­lo­cat­ing many bil­lions of rands to over­come that,” he said.

“But I also know that there are many stu­dents who are not able to get this ed­u­ca­tion be­cause they can­not get reg­is­tered. The idea of fees and re­mand of fees I un­der­stand, and I do un­der­stand the uni­ver­si­ties’ prob­lems, but I don’t un­der­stand why ed­u­ca­tion is so ex­pen­sive – no one has been able to ex­plain that to me. They just say that is how much it costs, and no one can say any more than that.”

Both lead­ers told South Africans that if they wanted a change in the cur­rent lead­er­ship of the coun­try, cit­i­zens would have to stand up and make that hap­pen.

The two frail-look­ing men will head to Lon­don next week to re­ceive the free­dom of that city.

Ahmed Kathrada

De­nis Gold­berg

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.