Today we mourn the falling of a great tree in our community and in our country. Many of the tributes that will flow over the next few days, will speak of the great lawyer, the human rights advocate, the friend of the weak and the disempowered. He was all these things, and he undertook them often at a great cost to him and his family. He was a man of the community in the widest sense of the word – a citizen of the oikoumene, who embraced universal values. But he was also a man of his community, the Hellenic community of South Africa.
We are privileged as a school to have benefited from the life of a man who gave of his time and energy contributing to the shaping of SAHETI as we know it and enabling us to, “Aim just a little higher.” As a community, we have walked alongside a man who has become an icon of the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. As a great role model, he stood up for freedom and justice and endorsed Hellenic values displaying the virtues of respect, courage and duty, even if at own personal cost. The Greeks have a word for this, and it is called ‘philotimo’ loosely translated as a love of honour and belonging within our community
Whilst we are saddened by the news of the passing of someone we all consider a father figure, we must at the same time be mindful of the need to celebrate his life. Adv. Bizos has a special place in the life of SAHETI Alumni – there is not one Alumnus or Alumna of SAHETI who does not have fond memories of Adv. Bizos.
Each and every one of us will remember at least one of his most interesting stories that he so loved to share with the children of SAHETI, together with the life lesson that he had always so cleverly hidden within each of his beautiful stories.
My beloved children of the blessed South Africa, We were deeply saddened to hear that a loyal patriot, the pride of Hellenism in South Africa and in Greece, a man of great spirit and heart, George Bizos, had departed this life.
Αγαπητά μου παιδιά της ευλογημένης Νοτίου Αφρικής. Συγκλονισμένοι πληροφορηθήκαμε, ότι έφυγε από τη ζωή ένας ευπατρίδης, το καύχημα του Ελληνισμού της Νοτίου Αφρικής και της Ελλάδος γενικώς, ο μεγάλος στην ψυχή και την καρδιά, Γεώργιος Μπίζος.
Last night our Hellenic community, and indeed South Africa, lost a formidable figure with the passing of George Bizos, or as he was fondly called by the people, “Uncle George”.
George Bizos was a proud Hellene and an equally proud South African. He never wavered in his belief in respecting human rights and preserving the dignity of all people irrespective of background, race, gender, political or religious belief. He was a driving force behind the establishment of the community’s dream of creating SAHETI School, the Hellenic community’s dream for a Greek School in South Africa, and one of the founding members that established the Modern Greek chairs at the University of the Witwatersrand. He was also a loyal supporter of the Greek Cathedral of Saints Constantine and Helen.
Greek Community pays tribute
Bizos the family man
A leading light in the community
Former student Elizabeth Sidiropoulos fondly remembers George Bizos as a teacher and activist
Ziyanda Ngcobo reports from Saheti school in Senderwood that Bizos helped found in 1974