His beginnings were humble, and he was humble at the end – Bizos’ grandson

Funeral of George Bizos, 17 September 2020. Picture: GCIS

‘On a lighter note, when asked who he would support in a soccer match between Greece and South Africa, he would say he hoped it was a draw,’ he said.

History will judge late struggle stalwart, advocate George Bizos, as a good man whose life was aimed at changing lives through his knowledge and use of the law, his family said in a moving tribute to him on Thursday.

“I stand before you, all paying homage to my papou (Greek for grandfather) with multiple conflicting emotions. The problem with having someone as revered as papou is that you come to believe he is immortal,” his grandson, Nicholas Bizos, said at the special state funeral.

“Every turn that papou made, every weave of the tapestry that is his life was done with the honest and devout intention of making things better, of doing something right, something to correct an injustice or help relieve someone’s suffering,” he added.

The celebrated human rights lawyer died at his home on Wednesday, 9 September, at the age of 92.

His grandson hailed him a man who was guided by the principles of fairness, equality and justice.As mentioned a few times, materialism was never a part of his life , his beginnings were humble, his middle was humble and he was humble at the end. The impact that he had was always through his actions and words, never through what he owned or accumulated.

Nicholas recounted his grandfather’s humble nature during a trip they took to Greece many years ago, when his grandfather was invited to deliver a talk.

An offer had been made for Bizos to be driven to the talk, but he refused it.


“A chauffeur showed importance and prestige. When I asked him why he didn’t want the car, he said: ‘When I look back in the books one day in the future and see that money was spent to fetch someone called George Bizos, I don’t want history to think that I thought of myself as so important that I needed a car to fetch me,'” the grandson said.

He added: “History will judge you as a good man, a man who made the world better for his existence and a man who will be remembered in South Africa, Greece and beyond for many years to come.”

Bizos’ son, Alexi, remembered him as a Greek and a South African.

“He died a South African and a Greek but above all, a human being.

“On a lighter note, when asked who he would support in a soccer match between Greece and South Africa, he would say he hoped it was a draw,” he said.

Bizos is expected to be buried at Park Cemetery in Johannesburg.

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