South Africa marks 42 years since Steve Biko's death

South Africa marks 42 years since Steve Biko's death

Today marks 42 years since the death of anti-apartheid activist, Bantu Stephen Biko. He died at the age of 30 while in police custody at the Pretoria Central Prison in 1977.

Biko was the founding member of the South African Student Organisation (SACO) and was elected the first president of the movement. The organisation was formed following the marginalisation black student’s encountered within the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS).

We reflect the liberation icon’s profound quotes:

“I’ve devoted my life to see equality for blacks, and at the same time, I’ve denied the needs of my family. Please understand that I take these actions, not out of selfishness or arrogance, but to preserve a South Africa worth living in for blacks and whites.” An extract from a letter he left his family before his death.

“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.

“Even today, we are still accused of racism. This is a mistake. We know that all interracial groups in South Africa are relationships in which whites are superior, blacks inferior. So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior.” On Black Consciousness.

“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.

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