The death of a renowned struggle icon and human rights lawyer, George Bizos has robbed the world of a revolutionary intellectual and a selfless jurist who had set the bar for South Africa’s legal system very high.
His principled leadership, wise legal counsel and cardinal contribution towards our constitutional democracy, rule of law, human rights values including the reconciliation, nation-building and social cohesion project as well as reclaiming the values that underpinned the liberation struggle will be sorely missed.
Bizos represents a generation of fearless and selfless leaders that stood against the might of the apartheid state.
It could be rightly argued that he saved the late ANC President and world icon Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki as well as Walter Sisulu from receiving the death sentence and going to the gallows during the Rivonia treason trial.
Bizos would bounce back to good health after he fell and hit his head on the night that he received the deserved Freedom of Johannesburg after a public lecture hosted at Wits University four years ago.
Bizos then 87-year-old, fell and hit his head two days after receiving the award after a public lecture hosted in his honour and the late ANC stalwart as well as Rivonia trialist Andrew Mlangeni at Wits University, and was admitted to the institution’s Donald Gordon Medical Centre in Parktown.
The university’s student newspaper, the Wits Vuvuzela, had at the time reported that after the fall, Bizos was bleeding from his neck and was helped to his feet by guests who attended the lecture.
He was an internationalist, a great fighter, a defender of the defenseless downtrodden and marginalised, conscience of our nation as well as a humble patriot who made an invaluable contribution towards creating a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist, peaceful and prosperous society.
Written by Paul Sebegoe, a chairperson of The South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) in the North West Province.