Sunday, January 08, 2012

Remembering Steve Biko as ANC Celebrates its Centenary

Steve Biko
As the African National Congress (ANC) celebrates its 100th anniversary, it is time for us to reflect on what they have achieved. However, I am less prepared to do a report today. I came across this article which might me of interest to those who want to know of the least-talked about student of South Africa's struggle against white supremacist rule (or apartheid) as the West looked on, supporting the government of the day in trade whilst murmuring their opposition against segregation and oppression. What history has thought us, and which most Africans still don't want to accept it, is that the West is never after true democracy. They are only after governments that will work in their interest. If such a government happens to be a dictator, like Saddam in the early 80s, good or like Mubarak, until his overthrow, better. They have words to describe every scenario. Yet, I won't talk much. Read this article about Steve Biko, the student leader who became a thorn in the flesh of the apartheid government until his capture, torture, and eventual death in captivity.
"The likes of Steve Biko were a bigger threat, as leaders like him denounced the regime for what it really was: a white supremacist dictatorship. It is thus that one should understand why they were so keen on silencing a local student leader with moderate demands for racial justice. Indeed, Steve Biko was “just” a student leader, cofounder of the South African Students’ Organization (SASO), later to become the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). Barely 25 years old, he was “banned” for speaking out."
Read the full story here. I will celebrate ANC's 100th anniversary by reading Biko's book I write what I Like. This edition, published by Picador Africa, contains a memoir of the man, activist and hero, titled Martyr of Hope: A Personal Memoir by Aelred Stubbs.

The ANC itself became a terrorist organisation and was blacklisted by the United States of America. In fact, until 2008 Nelson Mandela, the first black president of South Africa was on the list of American terrorists. 

About Steve Biko: Steve Biko was born in Tylden, Eastern Cape, South Africa on December 18, 1946. As a medical student, he founded a black student organisation in 1969 and created a national 'black consciousness' movement. The movement's aim was to combat racism and the South African apartheid government. He was banned in 1973, which prohibited him from speaking in public, writing for publication and any travel.

Biko was arrested by police on August 18, 1977 and died on September 12, 1977 in police detention, naked and manacled from extensive brain damage. Read more about him here.

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