George Bizos. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko
George Bizos. File photo: Dumisani Sibeko

Fighting back tears over loss of George Bizos, an icon - Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

Time of article published Sep 11, 2020

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By Ahmed Kathrada Foundation

THE Ahmed Kathrada Foundation is deeply saddened at the death of George Bizos.

The foundation recalls the extremely close personal friendship between its founder, Ahmed Kathrada and the late Bizos.

We remember Bizos fighting back tears at the Westpark Cemetery as he remembered the life and times of Kathrada. At the time, Bizos said that Kathy was known for dedicating his life to the cause of the Struggle and the realisation of freedom in South Africa.

“He was a brave man. He had a sense of humour,” recalled an emotional Bizos.

At various gatherings where Bizos would be present, Kathrada would jokingly say: “What’s George Bizos doing here? He sent us to jail.” Bizos would reply softly, stating that Kathrada should thank him for saving him and the other Rivonia trialists from the gallows.

Today we fight back our tears in memory of Bizos, a great South African who dedicated his life to fighting apartheid through the courts.

We reiterate Kathrada’s remarks about Bizos:

“He stands in that long tradition of great human beings who although not born in this country, did so much to contribute to its well-being.”

George Bizos was a highly respected, renowned and internationally acclaimed South African lawyer.

Bizos played a role in all the major political trials over 50 years in the Struggle against apartheid such as the Treason and the Rivonia Trials, the Nusas Five Trial, the Delmas Treason Trial and the inquests into the deaths of activists Ahmed Timol, Steve Biko and Dr Neil Aggett.

He also successfully defended a host of ANC women leaders such as Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Albertina Sisulu and Barbara Hogan in numerous political trials since the 1960s.

At the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he opposed the applications for amnesty on behalf of the Biko, Hani, Goniwe, Calata, Mkonto, Mhlauli, Slovo and Schoon families.

Hamba Kahle George Bizos. Your wise legal counsel and immense love for freedom will be sorely missed.

The views expressed herein are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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