JOHANNESBURG: President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the late lawyer George Bizos as “on the right side of history”.
Bizos was laid to rest Thursday at a Category 1 funeral service in Johannesburg.
Ramaphosa declared funeral status last week as a tribute to the freedom fighter.
Several speakers rose to the podium during the service and told short stories about Bizos.
Bizo’s son, Alexia, who for a few minutes tried to hold back tears, recounted how his father had always been a selfless man and that the family could never have agreed to share his funeral with the nation.
Nicholas Bizos said his grandfather will be remembered as a man who never had ambitions for fame, material wealth. He detailed a story when his grandfather had turned down an offer to use a state-funded car while in Greece for a visit.
“History will judge you as a good man, who will be remembered in South Africa, Greece and beyond,” he said.
Another touching tribute was given by former Deputy Chief Justice Dikgang Moseneke. The two had worked closely together for many years and he affectionately referred to him as “Uncle George”.
Moseneke said the country’s legal brotherhood was in mourning.
He recalled the cases in which they had worked together, including representing Winnie Madikizela Mandela, Thami Mkwanazi and seeking justice for the family of Steven Biko and the families of Cradock Four.
Moseneke said Bizos chose the side of the defenseless.
“What resilience, what resistance, what devotion to others had no racial or ethnic relations. He deeply hated oppression and injustice,” the former DCJ recalls.
Moseneke said one can only hope that many will learn from Bizo’s life how to live fully.
Ramaphosa gave a eulogy, describing Bizos as on the right side of the story.
Ramaphosa delivered a short speech which touches on Bizo’s long career as a human rights lawyer and the various issues he covered which included cases against the state and big business.
“The same spirit that pushed a young man like George to enter the legal profession should inspire others to pursue the human rights profession.
If having principles and commitments and standing up for what is right means ‘not fit and proper’, then we can all be given this distinction. George was truly a son of the earth, the earth itself. He was on the right side of history, “Ramaphosa said. | IOL
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