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“Biko’s words are his most profound and lasting endowment”: remembering Steve Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977)

The 12th of September 2017 marks 40 years since the murder of activist and Black Consciousness leader, Steve Biko, who died on 12 September 1977 from wounds sustained whilst in police custody.

Today we commemorate Biko’s life with the following extracts from No Fears Expressed. First published in 1987, No Fears Expressed is a compilation of quotes taken from the words of Biko. Sourced from the iconic I Write What I Like, including the collection of Biko’s columns published in the journal of the South Africa Student Organisation under the pseudonym of ‘Frank Talk’, as well as from The Testimony of Steve Biko (edited by Millard W. Arnold), this book contains many inspirational quotes and thoughts that are still relevant in South African society today.

Biko’s words fall under a wide range of topics including racism, blackwhite relations, remedies for apartheid, colonialism, black rage and township life. All are topics that reflect the ever-present divide that exists between black and white South Africans.

Steve Biko would have been 70 years old in 2017. His place in history is firmly cemented and the struggle that he gave his life for continues. He left a legacy of thoughts and words, and these words pay tribute to the courage and power of the young leader who was to become one of Africa’s heroes:

It is Biko’s legacy that in South Africa the phrase ‘Black Consciousness’ will always and inextricably be linked to him because it was his genius that constructed such a compellingly simple message.

‘Black Consciousness,’ he wrote, ‘takes cognisance of the deliberateness of God’s plan in creating black people black. It seeks to infuse the black community with a newfound pride in themselves, their efforts, their value system, their culture, their religion and their outlook on life.’

We are left now with nothing but Biko’s words; some spoken, some recorded but mostly those that are transcribed.

Words that after years of maturation remain as emotive and insightful as the day they were first written. It is these words, these thoughts, these ideas, this consciousness that he bequeathed us, that will never be forgotten. Biko’s words are his most profound and lasting endowment; they touch you where your soul and truth begin.

Book details

No Fears Expressed

 
 
 
 

I Write What I Like

 

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