Experts and comrades of Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko believe he would have opposed the current thuggery in the state and among political organisations because it was against what he stood for.
Biko died on 12 September 1977, in police custody in Pretoria after being driven naked in the back of a police van then tortured in detention.
His brutal killing sparked an international outcry and intensified economic sanctions against the white apartheid government of the National Party.
The killing came just over a year after the 1976 Soweto students uprising where pupils were shot by police for marching against the introduction of Afrikaans a compulsory medium of instruction at black schools.
Biko’s Black Consciousness influenced the uprising as the pupils belonging to the South African Students Movement.
Former Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo) leader Pule Monama remembered Biko’s teachings and the objectives he aimed to realise.
“When Steve Biko mobilised us to fight, firstly to liberate our minds and then the country. He never envisaged that a liberated Azania would create a generation of thugs whose interest is not the interest of the country and its people,” he said.
“He never believed that black people could be indoctrinated to go to the lengths of maiming and killing each other just to be councillors,” Monama said.
Monama expressed abhorrence at the violent killings of councillors in KwaZulu-Natal and elsewhere.
“Steve Biko, like many of his disciples undertook to serve our communities without expecting anything in return.
“The question we need to ask ourselves is whether people can truly go out of their way to kill each other just to serve people. There must be something we the ordinary people are not seeing,” he said.
“Biko and his comrades must be turning in their graves with shame over this. But John Vorster must be rejoicing in his grave.”
While the ANC is beset by divisions and infighting, the Black Consciousness Movement had never seen unity since 1994. It was marred by various splits and the formation of organisations that claimed to pursue the same principles that Biko initiated.
Azapo, an offshoot of Biko’s Black People’s Convention, has never been attractive to the electorate. It dropped from a single seat in the National Assembly it won in 1999, 2004 and 2009 to no showing in the last two elections.
Cultural and heritage expert Dr Fumane George Tsibani described Biko as “unquestionably an aesthetic leader of our
He said: “As a progressive African democrat and non-racialism who believed in the human race, he worked with all progressive forces in our global village to achieve freedom in a democratic South Africa founded on non-racialism and non-sexism.”
His contribution to the Black Consciousness Movement philosophy remains critical in our current complex political, economic, social, technical, legal and environmental challenges in post-colonial Africa and post-apartheid South Africa, he added.