JOHANNESBURG (AP) – Anti-apartheid campaigner and Nelson Mandela’s personal lawyer George Bizos has died at 92, his family said Wednesday.
He died peacefully at his home of natural causes, the family said.
Bizos, who came to South Africa as a 13-year-old fleeing the Nazi occupation of Greece, played a key role in the legal fight to end apartheid, the racist system used to oppress South Africa’s Black majority for decades.
“This is a very sad moment for our country,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said. “He contributed immensely, immensely, to the attainment of our democracy” and was one of the architects of the post-apartheid constitution. “We dip our heads in honor.”
The soft-spoken but determined Bizos represented Mandela from his treason trial in 1964 until the former South African president’s death in 2013. Bizos is credited with getting Mandela to add the words “if needs be” to his speech from the dock in which he said he was prepared to die