This week we were remembering the legacy of a man who committed his life for the fight against oppression and racial profiling and we have prepared a special feature to celebrate the legacy he has left for us to utilize so as to educate the coming generations of those that served for our liberation.
Born December 18, 1946 in Tarkastad Eastern Cape, Steve Biko was the third child of four siblings born to Alice Mamcete Biko. The family lived in his grandmother’s house before moving several times to end up settling in King William’s Town where he began attending school.
Steve was regarded as an intelligent young man during his years in Primary school, topping his class in the subjects Maths and English. This is when he was allowed to skip a year and continue progressing to higher levels.
Several years later, when he was offered a bursary to attend boarding school, he began his life in anti-apartheid activism. He joined his older brother in Lovedale, Alice in the Eastern Cape and this is where they were found with links to the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC). For this was a movement banned by the then government, they had to face interrogation and this began his hatred against the authority as quoted “I began to develop an attitude which was much mode directed at authority than at anything else. I hated the authority like hell” . Biko didn’t let this end his motives of fighting the Apartheid government because he continued finding ways to stop it.
When Biko moved to Natal, he attended a boarding school which had a liberal political culture, this is where Biko’s political consciousness took flight. From his early childhood education to being a student at the University of Natal Medical School he became very interested in joining the fight, soon after being elected as a part of the SRC of the university.
Biko’s experiences in student representation angered him very much because the white dominated committees of the time were dealing with matters concerning the white minority in the universities and this forced him to rethink his multi-racial approach to political activism
During his contributions to the representation of black students, Biko and his fellow student leaders founded the South African Student’ Organization (SASO) and it was launched in July 1969 during a time where they felt they weren’t being catered for as students.
Under SASO, he’s ideologies of Black Conciousness developed where he emphasized the worth of a Black Man native to this land, he emphasized the human dignity of the blackman and he centred the psychological empowerment of the black man as his motives for the newly formed “Black Consciousness Movement”. Among other things that Biko promoted, he promoted a slogan
“Black Is Beautiful” “Man, you are okay as you are. Begin to look upon yourself as a human being”
These ideological manifestations sparked a rebellion against authority and Biko was considered a ‘negative influence’ by the apartheid government, this came at the cost of constant caucuses that he led. When Biko’s influence began to be felt by the authority, he was always interrogated by apartheid police with the hopes of silencing his movement but this fueled them more to stand up for their right to be human and treated as humans.
The Black Consciousness Movement got support from external forces of countries worldwide and the sad ending to Steve Biko’s life showed how committed they were when justice was demanded for the inquest of his death in the hands of Apartheid cops.
Steve Biko’s life marked an important transition in the anti-apartheid movement as he used his gift of being an intellectually curious being to educate the communities he often visited about consciousness and the well being they deserved. Many political leaders that followed after him used his writings to enlighten the people and this helped with the fight against this inhumane treatment.
We will forever acknowledge pioneers like Mr Steve Biko for the influence they had and left behind. We hope the generations to come will take the life of such leaders as building blocks on revolutionizing a generation!
R.I.P Mr Stephen Bantu Biko. Your legacy will forever remain in our hearts and your teachings and writings enlighten us to be conscious about our lives and generations to come.
Keepin’ It Steezy
Respecting the Heritage, the Tradition and African Ideologies.