Home South African George Bizos laid to rest

George Bizos laid to rest


Bizos on the right side of history, says Ramaphosa.

President Cyril delivers the eulogy at his official funeral service for George Bizos, portrait foreground, at the Hellenic Cultural Centre in Johannesburg. Bizos, a human rights activist and lawyer who represented Nelson Mandela during the Rivonia Trial, passed away last week at the age of 92. Picture: AP Photo/Kim Ludbrook

JOHANNESBURG: President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late advocate George Bizos as being on the “right side of history”.

Bizos was laid to rest on Thursday in a Category 1 funeral service in Johannesburg.

Ramaphosa declared the status of the funeral last week as a tribute to the freedom fighter.

Several speakers took to the podium during the service and told short stories about Bizos.

Bizo’s son Alexia, who for a few minutes struggled to hold back tears, detailed how his father had always been a selfless man and that the family could have never disagreed to sharing his funeral with the nation.

Nicholas Bizos said his grandfather will be remembered as a man who never had an ambition for fame, material possessions. He detailed a story when his grandfather had rejected an offer to use a state-funded car while he was in Greece on a visit.

“History will judge you as a good man, who will be remembered in South Africa, Greece and beyond,” he said.

Another moving tribute was given by former deputy chief justice Dikgang Moseneke. The two had worked closely together for many years and he fondly referred to him as “Uncle George”.

Moseneke said the country’s legal fraternity was in mourning.

He recalled the cases the two had worked together on, including representing Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Thami Mkwanazi and seeking justice for Steven Biko’s family and the families of the Cradock Four.

Moseneke said Bizos chose the side of the defenceless.

“What stamina, what resilience, what commitment to others he had no racial or ethnic relations with. He deeply hated oppression and unfairness,” the former DCJ recalled.

Moseneke said one could only hope that many will learn from Bizos’s life on how to live fully.

Ramaphosa gave a brief speech which touching on Bizos’s long career as a human rights lawyer and the various cases he covered which included cases against the state and big business.

“The same spirit that drove a young man like George to enter the legal profession should inspire others to follow the human rights profession.

“If having principles and commitments and standing up for what is right means ‘not fit and proper’ then may we all be given that distinction. George was indeed a son of the soil, the soil itself. He was on the right side of history, “Ramaphosa said. | IOL

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