“In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift – a more human face” – Steve Biko
On the 12th of September, the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation commemorates the life and teachings of Black Consciousness leader, Bantu Stephen Biko on the 40th anniversary of his death. Steve Biko was an anti-Apartheid activist and is best remembered for empowering Black voices, building a sense of Black pride, thus galvanising the youth movement in South African during the height of Apartheid in the 1960s.
Biko was a popular voice of Black liberation in South Africa and a founding member of the South African Student Organization (SASO) – a black student organisation that emphasised mental emancipation and self-reliance, building on the ideological successes of independence from colonial rule on the African continent. The Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) re-ignited the resistance against Apartheid during a time when both the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC), leaders in the struggle, were silenced and subsequently banned.
Biko’s writings and activism enthused the Fallist movement and student protests of 2015 in the name of Free Decolonised Education. Today, as the fight against racism, inequality, injustice and exclusion continues, it is imperative for us to draw on the teachings of Black Consciousness which were instrumental in the fight against Apartheid.
To learn more about the teachings and life of Steve Biko, click here
Gugu Nonjinge and Jodi Williams are Project Officers for the Communications and Advocacy programme at The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
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