Today marks 42 years since the death of anti-apartheid activist, Stephen Bantu Biko. He died at the age of 30 while in police custody at the Pretoria Central Prison in 1977.
Four decades after his death in police custody, he deserves to be recognised as one of the towering heroes of the anti-apartheid struggle.
Black Consciousness began after the Sharpeville massacre in 1960 when the ANC and PAC were banned by the apartheid government and forced into exile.
Biko advocated that black liberation would only follow once psychological liberation from the internalised acceptance of racial oppression was achieved, arguing that "the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed".
In 1977, Biko was killed in police custody after brutal interrogation and torture.
Steve Biko's profound quotes:
“The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves.” Letter to SRC Presidents, I Write What I Like, 1978.
“Black man, you are on your own.” Slogan coined by Steve Biko for the South African Student’s Organisation, SASO.
“Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being.” The Definition of Black Consciousness, I Write What I Like, 1978.
On this day, 12 September 1977, Bantu Stephen Biko died in police detention at Pretoria Central Prison. He had suffered head injuries after being interrogated and beaten by racist police authorities. We remember #SteveBiko's selfless sacrifice to restore people to their humanity pic.twitter.com/xmNNZ1KMYc— SteveBikoFoundation (@BikoFoundation) September 12, 2019
Steve Biko explaining the rationale for the formation of the Black Consciousness Movement (through SASO) and why they felt a blacks-only organisation was essential. #SteveBiko pic.twitter.com/kRPCxXKA6a— Zimasa Mpemnyama (@Zimasa91) September 12, 2019
Today we remember Black Consciousness Movement founder, #SteveBiko. Just 3 months shy of his 31st birthday he was assassinated by the apartheid regime on this day 42 years ago. While they succeeded in ending his life, his ideas continue to live on to inspire future generations. pic.twitter.com/5rmJORiEEq— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) September 12, 2019