December 18, 2016
Steve Biko’s 70th Birthday
Black is beautiful. Steve Biko knew this fully well, and fought to spread this message across South Africa at the height of the apartheid movement in the 1960s and 1970s.
While in medical school, Biko co-founded the Black Consciousness Movement, which rejected apartheid policies and encouraged black people to take pride in their racial identities and cultural heritages. Biko famously said, “Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time.”
In February of 1973, the pro-apartheid government banned Biko for anti-apartheid activism. Under this ban, Biko wasn’t allowed to speak to more than one person at a time, was forbidden to speak in public and to the media, and was forced to stay in a single district. In spite of this, Biko continued to form grassroots organizations and organize protests, including the Soweto Uprising in June of 1976.
On the 70th anniversary of Biko’s birth, we remember his courage and the important legacy he left behind. Thank you, Steve Biko, for dedicating your life to the pursuit of equality for all.