Strange year to commemorate Biko due to lockdown restrictions: Azapo president

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Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo) president Strike Thokoane says this is a strange year under which they will commemorate the life of Black Consciousness Leader Steve Bantu Biko at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Services Centre.

Thokoane says the lockdown restrictions require a limited number of people to visit the Biko cell and to plan activities. Azapo visits the cell annually to lay a wreath in honour of Biko who died in detention in 1977 at Kgosi Mampuru, previously known as the Pretoria Central Prison.

Thokoane explains: “This year is a bit different because in the other years we bring lots of Azapo members and just the public in general, invite other organisations. But because of the COVID-19 regulations, we are restricted to bringing into the cell where we lay a wreath and do the African rituals, they have restricted us to only 10. But after that, usually, we go to the hall to properly speechify and read poems and commemorate where they have guest speakers, that’s where they speak. We have been restricted to only to 50.”

Steve Biko Memorial Lecture

Later on Saturday evening, at around 6pm, acclaimed US human rights activist, the Reverend Al Sharpton will deliver the 20th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture.

Biko died while in the custody of apartheid police.

The speech will be carried live on SABC TV, radio, and streaming services.