It may have been his 92nd birthday celebrations but his life-long friend, Nelson Mandela, was on his mind as anti-apartheid human rights lawyer advocate George Bizos celebrated the occasion at SAHETI School in Bedfordview, Johannesburg, on Friday.
Bizos is a founding member and life vice president of SAHETI, which was established in 1974, and as part of his birthday celebrations, pupils, teachers and parents gathered for assembly in the morning to wish him well.
Pupils entertained him with songs and dance routines as he sat with a smile on his face as his life and contribution to the school and liberation of South Africa was lauded.
After cutting his birthday cake, Bizos briefly spoke to the crowd giving them tiny nuggets of the beginning of his school career and later his sojourn to university where he studied law. He said it was during his first year at the University of Witwatersrand in 1948 where he met "a man... His name was Nelson Mandela".
"He sought me out because I had made a statement in the Sunday Times... " he added.
The icon did not have many words but the smile on his face said it all as he repeatedly waved at the children who performed poems and songs for him.
Bizos' grandchild, Nicholas who is also an alumni of the school, told the gathering that it was because of his grandfather's efforts and sacrifices that they were gathered there to celebrate his life.
"As a Sahetian, I couldn't be more thankful. As a South African, I couldn't be more inspired and as your grandson, I couldn't be prouder," Nicholas said.
The school then handed over messages and a gift to him.
SAHETI School has a scholarship called the Bizos SAHETI Scholarship and Bursary Fund which assists top-performing pupils in financial need to access secondary education.