Ed Goldberg

(see below excerpts from his bio)

My Dad lived a full and accomplished life. He was born in Siaulia, Lithuania on the 1st February, 1925 – his father had come from Baisogala, Lithuania and his mother from Rostov-on-the-Don in Russia. He had two sisters, one of whom – Judith Katz – still lives in Johannesburg. His other sister – Pola Segall – died in 1993. He arrived in South Africa in about 1930 and stayed in the small town of Rouxville for a couple of years. Interestingly enough the first language that he learnt in his new country was Afrikaans and until then had only known Yiddish and Russian. His first exposure to English was when the family moved to Livingstone, Northern Rhodesia in 1933. Livingstone is right at the Victoria Falls on the border with Southern Rhodesia. He had fond memories of his stay in Livingstone and after a short stay there the family moved to Caledon in the Cape and then to Uitenhage in 1936. His schooling in Uitenhage was at Muir College and he matriculated at age 16 with Geology as one of his subjects. He was a top student and a top athlete and was involved in rugby, boxing and athletics. His long jump record stood for over 20 years before it was broken.

In January,1942 he lied about his age (he was still 16 years old) and he volunteered with the South African Forces and saw action in the Middle East, Sicily, Italy and in Yugoslavia until December, 1945. He returned to South Africa and went to Rhodes University in Grahamstown to do a B.Sc. majoring in Geology. While there he made friends with Ian Smith – the future Prime Minister of Rhodesia. This friendship lasted through all the years and when I last saw Ian Smith at a Rhodesian Reunion in Las Vegas in 1998 we talked a bit about my Dad. At one time Mr. Smith was head of the Student Representative Council at Rhodes and asked my Dad to run for one of the vacant positions on the Council. He did so and but then pulled out of the race when he found out that his opponent had been lying about his war service. He just didn’t like the game of politics. In later years when we lived in Bulawayo Mr. Smith asked my Dad to run for a seat in Parliament. Once again he refused as he didn’t enjoy politics. When we moved to Salisbury in 1967 my parents were frequent guests at the Smith residence and my Dad often visited Mr. Smith in his office. He recalled how they were chatting when someone came in to inform Mr. Smith that Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd – the Prime Minister of South Africa had just been murdered.

He completed his studies at Rhodes in 1948 – once again doing very well in all his courses as well as representing the University in several sports. His final year Chemistry examination he got 100% and he managed to find two mistakes in the exam! He met my late mother, Jenny Flax, on a beach in Port Elizabeth and they got married in 1949. Ian Smith had talked him into moving to Southern Rhodesia and so in 1949 they moved to Que Que and he had the position of Resident Geologist on the Globe & Phoenix Gold Mine. In 1950 he was admitted as a Member of the Institution of Mining and Metallurgy in London, England.

During the period 1953 to 1957 he spent a couple of years at the University of London and obtained a Diploma of the Imperial College in Economic Geology through the Royal School of Mines. In 1957 he was awarded his Ph.D in Economic Geology from the University of London.

On his return to Rhodesia he was the Mining Representative for R.T. Mines Ltd. in 1958, Chief Exploration Geologist for Frobisher Ltd.in 1959 and then Regional Geologist for Matabeleland working for the Rhodesian Department of Mines in Bulawayo from 1960 to 1966. From 1966 to 1972 he was Chief Geologist for Anglo-American Corp. in Salisbury.

From 1972 to 1974 he became a self-employed Consulting Geologist operating in Mozambique, Malawi, Angola, East Africa, South Africa and South West Africa. He was the Director for several companies and part-owner of two gold mines in Rhodesia and a corundum mine in Malawi. He consulted to many mining groups and companies on feasibility studies, ore reserves, calculations, mineral brokerage, investments, negotiations at high levels, mineral property evaluations and mine reporting. He was responsible for negotiating the sale of mining leases and properties.

In 1975 he moved to Windhoek as the Geological Consultant to J.C.I. on copper properties in South West Africa – determining ore reserves and carrying out feasibility studies. In 1976 he was Assistant Chief Mine Engineer for the Palabora Mining Company in charge of open pit planning and directly connected with the operation of one of the world’s largest mines.

In 1976 he moved to Johannesburg and took the post ion of Chief Mineral Economist for the Department of Mines (Minerals Bureau) and by 1990 had risen to the position of Director in charge of the Minerals Bureau. During his years with the Minerals Bureau he was in charge of the minerals trade that South Africa had at that time with countries around the world. It gave him an opportunity to travel the world and meet the heads of many countries – Prime Ministers, Presidents, etc. At one stage he was secretly flown into Ghana and Nigeria and had been issued with a fake Canadian passport and ID. To his shock there was a TV crew waiting to greet this “Canadian” businessman and his main worry was that the Canadian embassy would catch this on the local TV news.

He was a world expert on gold, copper, nickel, asbestos, coal, diamonds, emeralds, limestone, scheelite, wolframite, columbite, tantalite, fluospar, chrome, iron-ore and manganese and had written many papers on Geology, Mining and gemstones published in the annals of many learned societies. He was best known for papers on gold and structures and copper ores in S.W.A.. He was a regular contributor to various mining magazines and allied publications.

In 1980 he had completed a novel on emerald smuggling in Rhodesia. This was based to a large extent on fact. Universal Studios in Hollywood wanted to purchase the movie rights to the book and in 1981 my parents were flown to Los Angeles for the negotiations. They were there for several days and one day one of the movie producers asked him if they wanted to spend the day at Disneyland. He was told that there would be another couple and their child joining them for the day and he had no idea who this Engelbert Humperdinck fellow was! The following year they were flow to New York and the studio purchased the rights to the book but unfortunately the movie was never made and the book was never published.

That in a nutshell is the life of my Dad. He was diagnosed with cancer of the colon three and a half years ago and had his colon removed. The cancer spread to his liver and he underwent chemotherapy every 3 weeks. He decided to travel to North America twice a year while he could and we had some really terrific trips to Washington, D.C., Baltimore, New York a couple of time, Boston, The Oregon coast, San Francisco and Nevada. Our last trip was in April to Atlanta, Georgia where we rented a car and drove through Alabama and Mississippi to New Orleans. On the way back it was a big thrill for him to stop in Panama City, Florida and also Chattanooga, Tennessee. By then he was wheelchair bound but we still managed to have a great time and got around just fine. He was real fighter right to the end and never lost his sense of humour. As his doctor said a week or so before he died – “he’s a tough old bugger”!

He is deeply missed. The loss of my Dad leaves me sad for I will miss him, but I am grateful for the wonderful memory that he leaves behind of a good, warm kindly person – a fine human being. 

Here are a couple of excerpts from my late Dad’s unpublished book

“OF MINES and MEN” by  Dr. Isaac Goldberg:

Another reason for moving to Rhodesia lay with my friendship with Ian Smith, later to become Prime Minister of that country. We first met at Rhodes University after the war, and immediately became good friends, principally because we were able to share war-time experiences and also that we enjoyed  playing rugby.  He soon became a force to be reckoned with as Chairman of the Student’s Representative Council. At that time, he asked me to stand for  election as a member of the Council, and I accepted. However, I later withdrew when we heard that my chief opponent in the elections was falsely telling  students that he had been wounded during the war (he walked
with a limp). When confronted by me, he admitted  hat he was lying, and that he had had an accident of some sort. Ian then asked me to stand unopposed, but I did not wish to cause my opponent any further embarrassment and, accordingly, stood down.  We developed a mutual trust and understanding which holds true to this day.

 Strangely, years later when he was Prime Minister, he asked me to stand as a  Member of Parliament, representing a constituency in the Bulawayo area. I again  declined, telling him that I was not a “political animal”, that is, that I  had no desire to be heckled at at political meetings!
In 1948, after the general election in South Africa, I had no knowledge of Ian Smith’s political affiliations, neither did I care. I regarded him simply as a  friend, whom I would like to meet again, in a land where no laws existed to separate its inhabitants on race and colour, and where no hatred existed based on  the colour of a man’s skin or his religion  or any other matter that did not provide for a happy life. It was also at about this time that I visited Ian Smith on his farm near Selukwe. He was genuinely overjoyed at seeing me, and Jenny and I spent a few happy hours  reminiscing about life at Rhodes University and the war-time days. He and his wife, Janet, showered us with their hospitality.
(From his son Ed  – Here are some unedited excerpts from an audio interview that I did with my Dad in August of 1992:)
I first met Ian Smith at university, Rhodes University in 1946. We both came there as ex-servicemen. I had never met him before. Never seen or heard of  him before but we became friendly. To start off with we both had similar
sort of experiences to some extent and we both liked one another.  We became very  good friends,and are still good friends to this day.  He was a  very forthright person. Assertive. Doing a B.Comm. I was doing science so the B.Comm. people had a lot of time on their hands and he took over the Student Representative Council and became head of the council, I think a Chairman or President.  I can’t remember the title and when
the next elections came up I was asked by him to stand as a candidate for the council.  At first I
was rather reluctant to do this but he insisted and I said okay, I’ll stand.  My opponent, the name of him I cannot recall.  It doesn’t really matter, walked around with a limp,  a distinct limp and he was going around telling all the students, particularly the first year students, Inks as we called them¸ that he had been wounded  during the war as a soldier and Ian Smith doubted this.  All of us doubted this.  He didn’t look like that sort of a person who had been in a war at all so  Ian Smith then asked me to confront him openly.  Where were you wounded?  What forces were you in?  And I got a hold of him with another guy and as a witness so to speak and asked him where were you wounded because you are going around telling everybody you were wounded and he then admitted that he hadn’t been  wounded and he hadn’t even been in the war but had some accident as a youngster which brought about this limp.  I told Ian Smith that this was a total lie. I mean this man is trying to get in fraudulently so he was asked to withdraw and it became a very serious matter at Rhodes.  It was reported to the Senate  that
this chap was telling lies trying to come in on as a representative for council, Student Council
and in the end he was asked to leave the residence and  moved into town. Ian Smith asked
me to come in unopposed because this man had now been forced to withdraw and I said no.  I didn’t
want to come in under  those circumstances.  If we are going to have an election let’s have an

election. I’ll win or I’ll lose but I don’t want to come in that way.  I felt that I  wasn’t in a position to take over in these circumstances.  To tell the truth I wasn’t too keen to be on the council anyway. 

.I started refereeing.  Ian Smith was quite a good and we remained friends until we departed at you come to Rhodesia you come and look me up at important and famous person in Rhodesia.  I Rhodesia I made a point of contacting him in Selukwe.  He was still, I think he was just becoming an M.P. then.  He stood for  parliament and got in for Selukwe and of course subsequently became Prime Minister.  We had a number of meetings together when he was Prime Minister.

I was living in Bulawayo. He used to meet me from time to time, whenever he came through to Bulawayo.He wanted me to run for parliament in Bulawayo.  I think it was Bulawayo East Constituency. He said to me you’ll walk it. You don’t have to do anything.  We’re going to get 100% vote there.  I said no.  I‘m not  a political man. I’m not that sort of person.  I’m not a political animal.  He said are you sure?  I said yes.  He said look.  You are so well known in  Bulawayo.  People stop you in the streets.  They see you on television.  You’ve given hundreds of talks and so on.  He said you are well known.  You are a  personality in Bulawayo.  So please stand.  I said no I’m not
standing for office and that was the end of that story.  But we kept in close touch in  Salisbury.  He invited us over for dinner there and we had such a good time.  We had a few dinners there.  My wife and I were often invited
to his house for  dinner, particularly in Salisbury.  We  spent many hours there, chatting to him and many of his ministers, whom I knew on a first-name basis. I also met  quite a few of the generals and people in the army and so on.

Sunday afternoon teas on the lawns of his house and Ian Smith used to come out with his dogs,  barefoot and shorts and he was most informal.  I was never formal with Ian Smith.  He didn’t care much for formality and we were really open with one another  and we had long discussions subsequently when UDI was declared.  We didn’t always agree with one another.  I didn’t always agree with his views and told him  so and he wasn’t annoyed with me, He was just trying to do the right thing for Rhodesia.  I said you’re trying to keep it
colonial and preserve the colonial  system here.  That’s all you’re really doing.  The blacks outnumber us 20 to 1 approximately.  What hope have we as white people to keep ourselves going.  And he said no we will.  We’ve been doing it for 70 years before.  We have a wonderful life here.  Life is pleasant and everyone is happy here.  Those were his words.  Everyone is happy.  I said yeah but he’s got people from outside who are pushing him.  I
said it’s a question of time.  He said no, you’re wrong.  I said I understand what you’re getting at but you’re wrong in your assessment and we remained friends.
I met most of the cabinet ministers. Life was different then, than in South Africa, where ministers and prime ministers were almost taboo.  There you could  meet and chat to a prime minister, any minister without much
difficulty, if you knew him, of course.I called them by their first names as was customary in  Rhodesia.  It wasn’t like South Africa or any other countries.  It was very casual.  Ian McLean, Ian Dillon.  We called ourselves by our
first names.  On a  first name basis.  We all knew each other.  After UDI sanctions were applied against Rhodesia.  I played a small part in this, trying to get minerals sold,  trying to break the deadlock between Rhodesia and Britain and the United Nations. As a matter of fact I was in Ian Smith’s office the day that Verwoerd was  murdered.  I was visiting him in his office and Ian McLean, the Minister of Health came
running in and said to Ian Smith.  I’ve got some bad news for you. He said what is it? Verwoerd
has just been murdered.  He said What?  Get the cabinet together immediately in my office here. I
sat there wondering should I  attend the cabinet meeting or should I get out.  So I said to Ian
Smith I’d better move out I think. I very nearly attended a cabinet meeting.