As the world commemorates the 43rd anniversary of the death of the Black Consciousness Movement leader, Steve Biko, his ideas still resonate in the hearts and minds of the people of his birthplace.
Biko was born in Tarkastad and grew up at Ginsberg Township in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape. He died on this day in 1977 under police custody.
On this day, 06 September 1977, #SteveBiko sustained a massive brain hemorrhage resulting from brain injury. He was beaten up by about five policemen. After suffering from brain injury they still kept him in standing position, hands & feet chained.#WeAreBiko #BikoMonth pic.twitter.com/dvCzQj2YiO
— SteveBikoFoundation (@BikoFoundation) September 6, 2020
The circumstances surrounding his death remain unclear to this day. The wounds of his death have not healed, especially for his family.
“The month of September, the day of the 12 of September, is when, of course, we bow our heads in recognition of his death having been tortured in Port Elizabeth to Pretoria. So, we use the occasion to focus the nation on conversations with a lecture, of course, virtually,” says Biko’s eldest son, Nkosinathi.
As part of keeping his legacy alive, the Steve Biko Centre was opened at Ginsberg in 2012. The centre is intended to educate the public about the leadership of Biko and his contribution to freedom and democracy.
It also implements community developmental projects. More than 50 people, mostly from Ginsberg and surroundings, work at this centre.
For locals such as Vuyokazi Duna, Biko’s legacy has brought a sense of social upliftment.
“I benefit a lot from working here. I’m able to provide for my family and here, we interact with different people from Germany, America, Joburg, and so forth and we do travel. l travel a lot doing workshops from here to other countries.”
A series of events have been planned in Biko’s honour.
“We have virtual Steve Biko month taking place in our social media platforms and website. Through that, we are able to express what Biko was all about and what he has accomplished in his life and afterlife,” says program coordinator of the Steve Biko Centre, Kholosa Tshandana.
The home of Steve Biko was declared a heritage site in 1997 by former President Nelson Mandela.
Biko’s legacy is discussed in the video below:
American Civil rights leader, who is also one of the faces of the Black Lives Matter movement, Reverend Al Sharpton will virtually deliver the 20th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture.
SABC’s Chriselda Lewis discusses the significance of Biko’s legacy today with Professor Saths Cooper, one of the Founder members of the Black Consciousness Movement; Policy and political analyst Professor Somadoda Fikeni and someone who found a home in the Black Consciousness Movement, ex-editor and now farmer, Mathatha Tsedu: