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Dear friends and comrades,
I am writing to ask for your help. I've found out that I've now arrived at the beginning of the winter of my life, having been diagnosed with incurable lung cancer. Treatment has had some effect, but there is a limit to what the doctors can do. As you can imagine, I have been reflecting deeply on my life and what I will leave behind.
I have two predominant feelings: first that while our beautiful South Africa is imperfect, what a marvel it is to see how far our people have come from a past of so much suffering to generosity and compassion; and at a personal level, I’m not done yet!
My hope for what I leave behind is the creation of an arts, culture, education and training centre in Hout Bay, Cape Town where I live. We call it the House of Hope
It is a vision that combines the passions of my life: the creation of cohesive, non-racial and non-prejudiced communities; the realisation of young people’s potential and a celebration of creativity and expression.
Creativity means so much to me personally. After the long dark years of confinement and restriction, I still can’t describe the sheer joy and unrestricted pleasure seeing and experiencing bright, emotional and expressive art brings me. Not only that, I’ve also seen how art and creativity can bring people together. It inspires people to see beyond their differences, express themselves authentically and learn about one another. There's nothing more important when you’re still in the process of building a community from a long and difficult history, as we are in Hout Bay, which is a microcosm of South Africa's efforts to overcome the legacy and reality of ethnic divisiveness.
Creating a beautiful space for this to happen, where young people, our future, and grown-ups can develop those vital creative and expressive skills will be my lasting contribution to the future of Hout Bay, which has been my home for so long.
It is a place and community that has given me so much joy, peace and fulfilment after a lifetime filled with a lot of happiness but also far too much sorrow and solitude.
To build the first phase of the House of Hope
and get its activities started, we needed to raise 3 Million Rand, and we have achieved that and turned the first sod for the first buildings. This includes the gallery that will house my art collection as well as an exhibition depicting my life. But we need your help to bring the full vision to life, as phase 1 does not provide us with all the activity rooms that we need to deliver arts, dance, music, culture, computer training and other activities for children and youth in Hout Bay, and to provide space for other non-governmental organisations to do so. The Denis Goldberg House of Hope falls under the Denis Goldberg Legacy Foundation Trust, of which the current trustees are Joe Noero, André Oosthuizen, and my son David. Mike van Graan and Shado Twala have also recently agreed to join us as trustees. David will manage the transfer of the Gofundeme money to my South African foundation.
Throughout my life, in working towards a non-racial South Africa, I've tried to help people experience the joy that life can be when we are free and can truly recognise and see one another. Now, as I approach my last days, I hope you can help me do it one last time by creating a space in which people can experience the sheer joy and freedom that the arts inspire in us. Anything you can give - £5, £10, £50, £100 or more - will make a big difference.
With my deep gratitude in advance and in solidarity, always, I wish you all the very best,
Denis GoldbergThe Denis Goldberg Foundation - Building Bridges through Arts & Culture