United States civil rights activist Al Sharpton has called on Africans both in the diaspora and the continent to continue with the struggle against oppressive rule.
Sharpton was speaking in a recorded message that forms part of the commemoration on the life and times of black consciousness leader, Steve Biko.
Biko was killed while in the custody of the Apartheid state on 12 September 1977. Sharpton says Biko broke the pattern in the 1970s where black people questioned their self-worth and replaced that with a sense of confidence and inner value. He says this took the form of the Black Power Movement in the US.
Sharpton says it’s critical for Africans to free their minds.
Sharpton also raised concerns that political emancipation on the continent hasn’t translated into economic freedom.
Sharpton, says South Africa must continue along the path of the economic empowerment of the black majority as this is the key to true emancipation.
Sharpton plead with black people across the world to be proud and celebrate their blackness like the late Biko.
Sharpton says black people should not allow themselves to be treated as objects of ridicule. Sharpton was delivering the 20th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture – titled “Black Lives Matter”.
“Until we can break the mental and psychic chains in our minds and reconnect to our history and the glory of who we are then we will always accept being degraded, being humiliated, and being killed because we have psychologically said that’s the way things are. If you do not think you are worthy you will not demand to be treated worthy and if you change people’s minds about themselves you can change their circumstances,” says Sharpton.
Sharpton says Biko became dangerous to the Apartheid state because he embodied the growing consciousness of black people about their worth, dignity, and rights.