Steve Biko

by Aubrey, Ashlee, Schuyler from North Eugene High School

Born on December 18, 1946, Steve Biko was raised and educated in a Christian home. His beliefs were that blacks should have just as much rights as the whites did. He formed the SASO, (South African Students’ Organization), the purpose of this group was to seek all rights for Black South Africans, from here on, this is where it would all start for Biko, he was the leader of the black consciousness movement; he was an anti- apartheid activist in South Africa within the years of 1960’s & 1970’s. Biko had also worked for the BCP (Black Community Programs). In 1973, the government had banned him from apartheid; he was not allowed to go to his hometown of Kings William Town, in Eastern Cape. Biko was elected Honorary President of the BPC in January 1977, in that same year Biko unfortunately had died, found in his jail cell, he had died from brain damage, and a result of injuries.

Steve Biko was one of the biggest apartheid leaders.

Awards of Steve Biko:
• Eleventh Annual NAACP Image Award (1978):Stevie Wonder Perpetual Award

• Minneapolis Freedom of the City (1997)

• Atlanta Freedom of the City (1997)

• National Institute for Public Interest Law and Research Award(2000)

• Presidential Awards (2002)

• Black Management Forum Lifetime Achievers Award (2004)

Stephen Bantu Biko, the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, was one of South Africa's most significant political activists. Following his murder on the 12th of September 1977, he became hailed as a martyr of the anti-apartheid struggle. Even from an early age, Biko showed interest in anti-apartheid politics. Biko was expelled from Lovedale for "anti-establishment" behavior and switched to a Roman Catholic school until he advanced into the University of Natal medical school. While in school Biko founded the National Union of South African Students, but then resigned because of how passive it was. In 1969 he founded the South African Students' Organization (SASO). The SASO helped to provide legal aid clinics. Steve Biko was eventually banned from the anti-apartheid government and could no longer support the Black Community Program, but he still was able to work for them. In 1977 he was elected Honorary President of the BPC.

Biko was detained and interrogated in prison many times between the years 1975 and 1977. On August 1977 Biko was held captive under the Eastern Cape police. While captive, police say he began to act strange and uncooperative; this strange behavior was a neurological disorder. He was to be rushed to a hospital, but this hospital was in Pretoria which was a long 12-hour journey. The whole journey he remained on a cold hard floor, naked, and semi-conscious. A few hours into the journey Biko died from severe brain damage.

"All in all the black man has become a shell, a shadow of man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity."

With this said from the words of Steve Biko, his beliefs on the situation of the Apartheid were set. From an early age, he began to show his anti-apartheid beliefs, by noticeably defying his schools rules towards it. He began to join unions that took notice of the way blacks were being treated in South Africa. He founded the South African Students’ Organization that helped provide legal and medical clinic aid amongst the black African students, and supported the development industries for the disadvantaged black townships. Biko was also one of the founders of the Black Peoples Convention, which worked on social improvement around Durban. The BPC brought together over 70 different black awareness groups to help with the black uprising. Since he was such a vital part within the movement, the Apartheid government ‘banned’ him. He expressed grief among his people, while criticizing the structure of South Africa’s ‘democratic’ republic. He believed that for the necessary steps to be taken to obtain a co-existing country, would be that “They must initially accept this as ‘the first truth,” and by doing so, the first measure would be to “make the black man come to himself.” This statement became his definition of “Black Consciousness” which was an anti-Apartheid activist movement that Biko founded, and was later murdered because of the movement.

Boddy-Evans, Alistair. "Stephen Bantu (Steve) Biko." ABOUT.COM:African History. The New York TImes Company, Web. 1 Jan. 2010. .

"Steve Bantu (Steve) Biko." About. By Alistair Boddy-Evans, Web. 26 Feb. 2010.

Macmillan, . "Stephen Bantu (Steve) Biko ." Mar. 1999. Web. 17 Feb. 2010. .

Page created on 3/15/2010 12:00:00 AM

Last edited 3/15/2010 12:00:00 AM

The beliefs, viewpoints and opinions expressed in this hero submission on the website are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the beliefs, viewpoints and opinions of The MY HERO Project and its staff.

Related Links

African History - In 1973 Steve Biko was 'banned' by the Apartheid government
AfricanHistory - In 1972 Biko was one of the founders of the Black Peoples Convention (BPC) working on social upliftment projects around Durban.