– 11 March 2018

The Legal Resources Centre of South Africa has announced the establishment of the George Bizos Human Rights Award, which will be awarded annually to recognize other deserving human rights defenders and public interest lawyers whose work exemplifies the values and commitment shown by Advocate Bizos in his pursuit of social justice.

The inaugural award will be presented to Advocate Bizos during a gala dinner on March 14, 2018, in Johannesburg. Advocate Tembeka Ngcukaitobi and former clients will reflect on Bizos’ legacy and achievements. Donations may be sent to the Legal Resources Centre or Friends of the Legal Resources Centre of South Africa to support the work of the LRC and the sustainability of the George Bizos Human Rights Award. For further information, please contact Christine Malata at

George Bizos, senior counsel in the LRC’s Constitutional Litigation Unit, has been with the LRC since 1991. One of South Africa’s most distinguished lawyers, he was part of the team that defended Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, and Govan Mbeki during the Rivonia Trial in 1963-1964 and he served as Nelson Mandela’s legal counsel for fifty years. Other prominent clients included the family of Steve Biko, Bram Fisher, Winnie Mandela, and Morgan Tsvangirai. His work has involved a number of landmark cases, including the case that declared the death sentence unconstitutional. Born in Greece, George Bizos came to South Africa with his family at the age of thirteen. He studied for his LLB at Rand University and joined the Johannesburg Bar in 1954.

Advocate Bizos has received numerous awards, including the Order For Meritorious Service Class II Medal by President Nelson Mandela in 1999, the 2001 International Trial Lawyer Prize of the Year by the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, the Bernard Simon Memorial Award from the International Bar Association in 2004, the Duma Nokwe Human Rights and Democracy Award in 2004, the Constitution Hill Trust Award in 2008, and the Commander of the Order of the Phoenix appointed by the President of Greece.

He has published two books, No One To Blame? In Pursuit of Justice in South Africa and Odyssey to Freedom.