Renowned human rights advocate and former apartheid struggle stalwart George Bizos, who has died at the age of 92, contributed immensely to the attainment of South Africa’s democracy and was hailed by Neeshan Balton, executive director of the Ahmed Kathrada Foundation, as “a towering giant in so many facets of our liberation struggle”.
Bizos was born in Greece on November 15 1927 and arrived in South Africa in 1941 as a World War 2 refugee, with his father.
During the height of apartheid, Bizos dedicated his professional career to the fight for human rights.
He was part of the legal team that defended Nelson Mandela, Govan Mbeki and Walter Sisulu at the Rivonia Treason Trial in 1963 and 1964.
Bizos played a pivotal role in South Africa’s democracy and is one of the founding fathers of the country’s Constitution.
At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he represented families of liberation heroes such as Steve Biko, Chris Hani and the so-called Cradock Four.
City Press photographic editor Leon Sadiki selected these photos from our archives:
ADVOCATE George Bizos during the Marikana commission of inquiry held at the Rustenburg Civic Centre in 2012. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla/Foto24
COMRADE George Bizos and Rivonia Trialist Andrew Mlangeni attend the funeral service of ANC stalwart, Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada on March 29, 2017. Picture: Gallo Images/Daily Sun/Lucky Morajane
COMMITTED George Bizos and Nelson Mandela during a handover ceremony at the Nelson Mandela Foundation in 2009, where he received a historical collection of records from the Rivonia Trial and a series of "Conversations with Madiba". Picture: Media24/Gallo Images/Getty Images
DEFENDER Human rights activist Sydney Kentridge, who headed the defence team at the Bram Fischer trial, with George Bizos on March 30 1966 in Pretoria. Picture: Rand Daily Mail/Gallo Images/Getty Images
DEFENCE Human rights lawyer George Bizos, on September 8 2014 in Marikana, North West, at the scene where 34 miners were killed during a wage increase strike in 2012. Lawyers, police and relatives went to inspect “scene two” where some of the miners were shot execution-style. Picture: Gallo Images/The Times/Moeletsi Mabe
REMEMBRANCE Former president Thabo Mbeki and George Bizos during the Nelson Mandela centenary celebrations at the former statesman’s Houghton home on July 18 2018 in Johannesburg. Picture: Gallo Image/Sowetan/Thulani Mbele
ASSIDUOUS George Bizos in his office in March 2005. Picture: Lisa Hnatowicz
SUPPORTER Mac Maharaj, who was charged in the Little Rivonia Trial; Rivonia Triallist Ahmed Kathrada; George Bizos; and the mayor of Tshwane and ANC regional chairperson, Kgosientso Ramokgopa, attend the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Rivonia Trial in November 2013. Picture: Theana Breugem/Foto24
FRIEND Former president Nelson Mandela, Advocate George Bizos and Denis Goldberg watch the one-person show, The Rivonia Trial, performed by Monde Wani in 2009. Picture: Debbie Yazbek/Nelson Mandela Foundation
SIGNIFICANT In 2008 George Bizos attends a historical handover of state records of the Rivonia Trial in which Nelson Mandela and seven others were sentenced to life imprisonment. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla
AUTHOR George Bizos during an interview about his book Odyssey to Freedom in 2017. Picture: Felix Dlangamandla
COMPANION George Bizos became good friends with former president Nelson Mandela.:
LOYAL George Bizos pictured with a portrait of Nelson Mandela in 2009. Picture: Lucky Nxumalo/City Press:
ICON Photographer Adrian Steirn captured George Bizos as part of his 21 icons project in 2007. Picture: Adrian Steirn:
STALWART George Bizos and Cyril Ramaphosa share a laugh in 2017. Picture: Deon Ferreira
DEDICATED George Bizos joins Nelson Mandela and his family at the former president’s birthday celebrations in July 2009. Picture: Peter Morey
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