Tributes pouring in for human rights lawyer George Bizos

Politicians, organisations and ordinary South Africans have paid tribute to renowned anti-apartheid activist, George Bizos, who died at age 92.

Bizos, who was also a human rights lawyer, defended a number of struggle veterans who were under siege from the apartheid government, including Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela.

Ramaphosa: 'A monumental figure in our history'

Reacting to his death during a question and answer session with the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) on Wednesday, 9 September 2020, Ramaphosa said he had spoken to Bizos' son in the afternoon – just before his passing.

"This is sad news for all of us as South Africans. George Bizos contributed immensely to the attainment of our democracy. He worked very closely with Nelson Mandela, Arthur Chaskalson, and many others. He had an incisive legal mind and was one of the architects of our Constitution," Ramaphosa said.

The president further said Bizos will be remembered for his contribution.

"We have lost a monumental figure in our history; a patriot who marched with us to freedom and laid the foundations for a democratic South Africa in which the rule of law affirms the dignity, rights and protection of all who live in South Africa."

Social media has been awash with many remembering the struggle veteran for his dedication towards fighting injustices.

Former public protector Thuli Madonsela joined the legal fraternity in paying tribute to him and said Bizos fought a good fight in pursuit of a just South Africa.

Nelson Mandela Foundation: 'Another giant has fallen'

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has described his loss as a blow and said Bizos was a giant of South African history and of global struggles for justice.

"Ntate Bizos was always available to support our events and to lend an ear to our challenges," said the foundation's CEO Sello Hatang.

"He became like a well-loved uncle to us. We were in awe of him, yet he always engaged us with humility, affection, and respect"

Bizos played a key role in Mandela's life, both personally and professionally. The late former president saying he had like a brother to him during his incarceration.

 "At a moment like this, we remember Madiba and a whole generation of South Africans who endured much and achieved more. We owe it to them to keep walking that long walk to freedom," he added.

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