Dear Steve Biko, Black consciousness is living beyond your death. Such is the power of your influence and contribution to the emancipation of black people. The bold, radical and extraordinary move by the EFF against an advert and company that ridiculed us and the politics of our hair was a reminder that your legacy lives on. I say our hair as an ally to the black women who were once again subjected to racist treatment by Clicks. I remembered your words: "Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to...
Dear Steve Biko,

Black consciousness is living beyond your death. Such is the power of your influence and contribution to the emancipation of black people. The bold, radical and extraordinary move by the EFF against an advert and company that ridiculed us and the politics of our hair was a reminder that your legacy lives on.

I say our hair as an ally to the black women who were once again subjected to racist treatment by Clicks.

I remembered your words: "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 as a subservient being."

At first, I wanted to worry about the jobs of the many black people, black women in particular, when the EFF took the bold step to shut down all Clicks stores nationwide. Then I realised something so profound, Biko. Oh Biko, 43 years ago, you spoke the truth that is timeless.

"In a bid for change, we have to take off our coats, be prepared to lose our comfort and security, our jobs and positions of prestige, and our families… a struggle without casualties is no struggle," you said.

Oh Biko, the EFF leadership and their forces on the ground heed your call to put jobs and comfort on the line to ensure that we preserve the dignity of black people, black women to be more specific. Racism continues to strip us of our dignity. With the hair issue, they were trying to make black girls and women to be what they are not.

And you did warn us, Biko. Oh, Biko, you did remind us to never change who we are. You said: "I'm going to be me as I am, and you can beat me or jail me or even kill me, but I'm not going to be what you want me to be."

You were yourself until your last day on earth. I pray that more young people emulate you. I pray that your spirit continues to live in us. I subscribe to Bikoism. Oh Biko, as I recall your words, I realise that you understood the importance of mental liberation. The idea that one day we will all be equal and proud of our blackness is an idea you were willing to die for.

"It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die," you added. It is true that the idea you died for is one that continues to live.

I thank the EFF for reviving your spirit. I thank the EFF for being so militant in their approach thus far. Yes, racism won't die because of this confrontation levelled against Clicks.

But Biko, we are going to fight and ensure that our mental attitude is the correct one, the kind that will ensure that we preserve our dignity. In your words, Biko: "In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift – a more human face."

Oh, Biko, we shall continue to fight for our dignity as black people, particularly the dignity of black women.

Indeed sir, "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."

I'm going to ensure that I conscientise, ensure that all goes well, I am going to continue to write what I like. And as Eusebius Mckaizer's book title suggests, Run racist, run!!!

Your spirit lives on Biko.

Dear Biko, the EFF has heeded your call


Kabelo Chabalala.

  1. Kabelo Chabalala is the founder and chairperson of the Young Men Movement (YMM), an organisation that focuses on the reconstruction of the socialisation of boys to create a new cohort of men. Email, kabelo03chabalala@gmail.com ; Twitter, @KabeloJay; Facebook, Kabelo Chabalala

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