Stephen Bantu (Steve) Biko born December 18, 1946 in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape, South Africa. He was one of South Africa's most significant political activists. He founded the South African Students’ Organization in 1968, subsequently spearheading the nation’s Black Consciousness Movement and the leading founder of the Black People’s Convention (1972) in South Africa's. His death, September 12, 1977 in Pretoria prison cell, South Africa in police detention in 1977 led to his being hailed as a martyr of the anti-Apartheid struggle.
He fought for equal rights for the South African People until his death. Under Apartheid era anti-terrorism legislation, Biko was detained and cross-examined four times between August 1975 and September 1977.
If you would like to see his life played out I highly recommend watching Cry Freedom (1987)staring Denzel Washington as Steven Biko. This man died for his people y'all!
Nelson Mandela on Steven Biko
Biko is continuously celebrated. In 1997 Mr. Nelson Mandela said the below regarding Mr. Biko:
“History called upon Steve Biko at a time when the political pulse of our people had been rendered faint by banning, imprisonment, exile, murder and banishment.
“Repression had swept the country clear of all visible organisation of the people. But at each turn of history, apartheid was bound to spawn resistance; it was destined to bring to life the forces that would guarantee its death. It is the dictate of history to bring to the fore the kind of leaders who seize the moment, who cohere the wishes and aspirations of the oppressed. Such was Steve Biko, a fitting product of his time; a proud representative of the re-awakening of a people.
“While Steve Biko espoused, inspired, and promoted black pride, he never made blackness a fetish. At the end of the day, as he himself pointed out, accepting one’s blackness is a critical starting point: an important foundation for engaging in struggle. Today, it must be a foundation for reconstruction and development, for a common human effort to end war, poverty, ignorance and disease.
“One of the greatest legacies of the struggle that Biko waged – and for which he died – was the explosion of pride among the victims of apartheid. The value that black consciousness placed on culture reverberated across our land; in our prisons; and amongst the communities in exile. Our people, who were once enjoined to look to Europe and America for creative sustenance, turned their eyes to Africa.”
Indeed, many people of his generation say that they found their path to non-racialism through the philosophy espoused by Biko. He encouraged fearless and open debate, inspiring oppressed people to recognise their own worth, take joy in their own humanity, and recognise – as equals – the humanity of others.
Today We Celebrate Steven Bantu (Steve) Biko. He was a legend in his own time and a TRUE HERO!