Bizos to get special official funeral

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Human rights advocate George Bizos is pictured in his office on January 26, 2010 in Johannesburg. He was part of the legal team which defended Nelson Mandela in the 1960s when the global icon was sentenced to life imprisonment by the apartheid state. Mandela was freed 20 years ago on February 11, 1990. Picture: AFP PHOTO / STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN
President Cyril Ramaphosa has declared that the late human rights lawyer and social activist Advocate George Bizos  will receive a Special Official Funeral Category 1, usually reserved for the most distinguished South Africans.

The Citizen reports, furthermore, national flags will be flown at half-mast at every flag station in the country as of  Saturday until Thursday evening, when the funeral is expected to take place..

Advocate George Bizos was born in Kirani, Greece, and moved to South Africa in 1941, before becoming a human rights lawyer, most notable for his defence of the Rivonia trialists, as well as the 1956 Treason trialists.

Bizos passed away on the afternoon of 9 September 2020 at the age of 92, surrounded by his family at his Johannesburg home.

Earlier this week, former president Nelson Mandela’s widow Graça Machel penned a heartfelt message, paying tribute to Bizos, saying he was “the last of Madiba’s closest friends to depart”.

President Ramaphosa has described George Bizos as one of the best legal minds in South Africa who contributed immensely to the attainment of democracy.

“George Bizos was a well-known name and he had an incisive legal mind and was also one of the architects of our constitution who contributed immensely and he will be sorely missed.  We dip our heads in honour of the contribution he made to our democracy,” said Ramaphosa.

Machel said: “Madiba and George [were] more than special friends, they were two souls with [an] uncompromising zest for justice. In different trenches, but complementing each other in a remarkable journey of six decades, of loyal friendship and brotherhood, walking hand in hand.”

The Citizen