Bizos recalls his last Mandela visit

2013-07-11 20:45
George Bizos (Picture: AP)

George Bizos (Picture: AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Johannesburg – “None of us are immortal, but I can’t really come to terms that he may pass away in the near future,” George Bizos has said during an interview on Nelson Mandela’s health.

Bizos, a human rights lawyer and a member of the legal team that defended Mandela and others at the Rivonia trial, said Graça Machel invited him to see the former president in the hospital last month.

The visit was cancelled when the health of his friend deteriorated.

He recalled a visit to Mandela in Johannesburg a week before the hospitalisation at which the two men, along with Machel, chatted about "many things" for more than half an hour, including talk of their days together as law students in Johannesburg.

"He would ask me, 'Do you remember 'so-and-so,' is he still around? When did you last see him?'" Bizos said. Mandela sometimes repeated questions, like many elderly people whose minds are no longer sharp.

"They may not remember what they said 10 minutes before, but they remember what happened 50 years ago," he said.

Yet Mandela still had caring instincts. Bizos had left his jacket in his car, but Mandela thought he had taken it off in the house.

"'George, don't leave your jacket behind,'" he fondly instructed Bizos on that winter's day.

One of Mandela’s former cellmates said it was a traumatic experience to see Madiba in such a fragile state.

An old friend

Ahmed Kathrada, a warhorse of the anti-apartheid struggle, was allowed just a few minutes at the hospital bedside of his critically ill comrade.

It was, he said, a traumatic experience to see the former president, physically robust during their prison years together, in such a fragile state.

Mandela could not speak but his face "changed" and he recognised his visitor "through his eyes", Kathrada said of the 1 July encounter, which was overseen protectively by Machel.

This is the image of Mandela that South Africans, and many people around the world, find hard to accept.

The man who withstood 27 years in jail and led his country from conflict toward reconciliation, is as vulnerable as anyone his age, and monitored around the clock by doctors.

The 94-year-old was admitted to a Pretoria hospital on 8 June for a lung infection.

The government said on Thursday he is in critical but stable condition, and responding to treatment. Legal filings by Mandela's family have said he is on life support.

"All the years that we knew him, we knew him, somebody who was very conscious of his health, somebody who exercised in and outside of jail, regularly, and here you see a person who's different. A shell of himself," Kathrada, 83, said in an interview on Wednesday with AP.

"It was an overwhelming feeling of sadness, and of course the unrealistic wish and prayer that he can be with us for longer and longer," said Kathrada.

- AP

Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  george bizos  |  graca machel  |  ahmed kathrada  |  johannesburg
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
20 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.