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A hero has fallen - rest in peace Advocate George Bizos

- Wits University

Rest in peace Advocate Bizos, knowing that you have left a lasting legacy in gifting freedom to our people.

Advocate George Bizos

The University of the Witwatersrand mourns the passing of one its greatest alumni, Advocate George Bizos, who was a hero, a stalwart in the fight against apartheid, and a lifelong member of the Wits community.

We remember him as a man of courage who always sided with the truth and who spent his lifetime fighting injustice and prejudice.

We remember him for his intellectual and legal prowess, and for the courageous role that he played in defending the Rivonia trialists, the role that he played in the Steve Biko, Neil Aggott and Ahmed Timol inquests, and the Bram Fischer Trial, amongst others. He defended numerous political activists over the years.

We remember him for the instrumental role that he played in securing the freedom of the people of South Africa. He met former president Nelson Mandela (and others) whilst studying at Wits, which was the beginning of their lifelong friendship. Together, they spent many more decades fighting for justice, freedom and human rights for all.

We remember him for the critical role that he played as South Africa transitioned to democracy in the 1990s, and for the contribution that he made towards South Africa’s Interim Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Wits bestowed its highest honour – a Doctorate of Laws honoris causa on Advocate George Bizos in 1999. Read the full citation.   

But his journey with the University did not end here. He walked the corridors of Wits in recent times - attending graduation ceremonies and the awarding of a gold medal to the Legal Resources Centre, delivering the Nadine Gordimer Lecture, inspiring students, connecting with colleagues and old friends, attending documentary screenings, never missing annual events, and giving of his time, and his wisdom, to all.

Rest in peace Advocate Bizos, knowing that you have left a lasting legacy in gifting freedom to our people, reassured that you have spent your lifetime in the service of humanity, and comforted that you were courageous to pursue the truth and fight for justice when it mattered the most.

Our deepest condolences are extended to Advocate George Bizos’ family and friends, his colleagues, his comrades, and all the people of South Africa, whom he served until his passing. May he rest in peace.