“Black people will never be able to improve their lives”

Steve Biko
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Black people will never be able to improve their lives as long as they do not eradicate elements of the colonial oppressive system they inherited, which was never designed to improve them.

This is according to CEO of The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund Sibongile Mkhabela. She addressed an annual Steve Biko lecture at the University of KwaZulu Natal’s Westville campus.

Many views unleashed at the event varied from the country having inherited a burning house to the abuse of women and children in the country, all of which defy Bantu Stephen Biko’s fundamental philosophies of Black Consciousness and the quest for humanity.

Mkhabela shared her perspective of how young educated people with a mission threatened the powerful apartheid state, leading to the death of Biko.

“You understand that by the age of 30 Steven Bantu Biko was brutally murdered, by a brutal system. By the age of 33 Ongopotse Tiro had also been murdered by the system; by the age of 36 Sobukwe had been incarcerated and had his own clauses that kept him in prison. The ideas and actions of young educated people with a mission threatened a powerful state that could not be shaken even by a threat of war. Those who threatened war were a bit of a pain but those who presented transformative ideas were the real threat and there’s no way that Steve Biko could live.”

Discussing the harsh reality of abuse faced by women and children in the country, Mkhabela says the South African Constitution has no regard for violence against the abused.

“I do not believe that without paying attention to the broken ties between and among people we can begin to grapple with abuse of women and children. South Africa has no regard for women and children let’s just accept that, it has some policy attempts to correct the situation.”

The University of KwaZulu-Natal, together with Umtapo Board, held an annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture, at the Westville Campus, under the theme: “South Africa, the Unfinished Revolution”.

The lecture attracted people from all walks of life.