Steve Biko: Remembering South Africa's struggle icon

On this day, 43 years ago, South African activist and Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) leader Steve Biko was killed in police detention at the tender age of 30. Remembered for his gallant fight against the apartheid regime, the 12 September will forever be an important day in South African history. Biko would have turned 74-years-old in December.  

REMEMBERING STEVE BIKO 


According to the Steve Biko Foundation, he was born in Tylden on 18 December 1946. He attended primary school in King William's Town and secondary school at Marianhill, a missionary school situated in KwaZulu-Natal.


In 1968, Biko and his colleagues founded the South African Students' Organisation (SASO). He was elected the first president of the organisation at its inaugural congress held at Turfloop in 1969. This organisation was borne out of the frustrations Black students encountered within the liberal and multi-racial National Union of South African Students (NUSAS).


"In his short but remarkable life, Biko was frequently harassed and detained under the country's notorious security legislation. This interrogation culminated in his arrest, together with his colleague and comrade Peter Cyril Jones, at a Police roadblock outside of King William's Town on the 18th August 1977," the foundation said. 


"Biko and Jones were tortured at the headquarters of the Security Division housed in what was then known as the Sanlam building in Port Elizabeth. It was during this period that Biko sustained massive brain haemorrhage," it added. 


On 11 September 1977, Biko was transported to Pretoria Central Prison where he died one day later. 


Before his untimely death, he wrote; "We have set out on a quest for true humanity and somewhere in the distance we can see the glittering prize. Let us march forth drawing strength from our common plight and brotherhood. In time we shall be in a position to bestow upon Africa the greatest gift possible, a more human face." 

QUOTES FROM A LEGEND 


In remembering Biko, who fought for our freedoms and helped to kickstart the liberation struggle, we still read the message he portrayed before his death. Here are three quotes which will always ring true, no matter which decade it is. 


"It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality."


"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."


"Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time."


The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), in a statement released on Saturday, said; "Let us be willing to die for the ideas of black consciousness, in the same way, Steve Biko gave his life for the freedom of black people."

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