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Nelson Mandela ‘avoided a bloody civil war’

On the anniversary of his passing, Mandela's friend George Bizos says he saved millions of lives in 1994.

A file photo taken on 6 December, 2013 shows a framed image of former South African president Nelson Mandela as people pay tributes following his death, in Johannesburg. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Renowned human rights lawyer George Bizos has dismissed claims that his long-time friend and former president Nelson Mandela is a sell-out, saying the statesman was instrumental in avoiding a bloody civil war.

Last week in the United Kingdom (UK), Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema said Mandela compromised the Freedom Charter.

WATCH: Malema: I am not a subject of the Mandela family

Today marks exactly two years since the former statesman passed away at his Houghton home at the age of 95.

Bizos says Mandela saved millions of lives by avoiding a bloodbath when negotiating the country's democracy with the National Party in 1994.

"He actually steered the ship away from rocks that were certain to destroy and avoid a bloody civil war."

He says those who are attacking Madiba's legacy don't have the facts.

"They have political agendas and make statements that I think are derogatory."

Meanwhile, Graca Machel says her later husband's legacy will stand the test of time and she's not concerned about the criticism.

ROBBEN ISLAND TOUR

To mark exactly two years since Mandela's passing, apartheid struggle icon Ahmed Kathrada will today take dozens of young people from across the country on a tour of the prison cells on Robben Island.

The Ahmed Kathrada Foundation is hosting the group for a week-long leadership camp on the infamous island where Mandela served the larger part of his sentence.

The foundation's Neeshan Balton says, "They will be given a guided tour of the cells on Robben Island by Kathrada. He will then be spending a fair amount of time engaging on the leadership lessons from Madiba around the theme of 'the triumph of the human spirit'."

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