Honouring Steve Biko.

South Africans are using the month of September to remember, celebrate and preserve the legacy of Black Consciousness Movement leader, intellectual and liberation struggle hero, Stephen Bantu Biko.

Biko died in custody as a result of police brutality on 12 September 1977. This year, the country marks the 40th anniversary of his passing.

To commemorate this sad episode in the history of the South African struggle for liberation, President Jacob Zuma will visit Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre on Tuesday to lay a wreath at the cell in which Biko died.

Biko died in a police cell at the then Pretoria Central Prison (now Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre) following his arrest in August 1977. He had been savagely beaten by the apartheid security police while in police detention in Port Elizabeth and sustained serious injuries, including brain damage.

President Zuma said Steve Biko’s leadership and ideals inspired not only South African liberation struggle activists in South Africa, but also many leaders and activists across the continent and the world, who pursued an anti-racist, anti-colonial and anti-imperialist agenda.

“Steve Biko fought white supremacy and was equally disturbed by what he saw as an inferiority complex amongst black people. He emphasized the need for psychological liberation for black people to accompany physical liberation and undo the damage caused by apartheid. He advocated black pride and black self-reliance, believing that black people should be their own liberators and lead organisations fighting for freedom,” said Zuma

”He practiced what he preached with regards to self-reliance and led the establishment of several community projects, which were aimed at improving the lives of the people. His ideals of self-reliance are more relevant than ever now as we push a radical socio-economic transformation agenda and the deracialisation (sic) of the ownership, control and management of the economy,” added Zuma.

The world has also honoured Biko in many ways, including the popular song Biko by British musician Peter Gabriel. The movie, Cry Freedom, based on a book by former editor Donald Woods, also attracted international acclaim.

“Steve Biko suffered great abuse, harassment and torture over a period of time and paid the supreme price for the liberation of black people from oppression and bondage. We shall always remember his sacrifice and contribution. We also thank the international community for honouring this great man and patriot in various ways,”  President Zuma concluded.


Sourced: SAnews



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