Born in 1946, Stephen Bantu Biko or commonly known as Steve Biko was an iconic figure in South Africa’s painful struggle for independence. He was an anti-apartheid activist in the 1960s and 70s. Biko was arrested several times for his anti-apartheid work and in September 1977, he died from injuries he sustained while in police custody. Thousands of people attended his funeral and subsequent burial at the Ginsberg township cemetery (currently referred to as Steve Biko Garden of Remembrance). The works of this prominent leader still remains evident not only in South Africa but the entire African continent. Here are some key Steve Biko facts that you may not know about:
Facts No 1. Many people believe that Steve Biko was born and brought up in Soweto just like Nelson Mandela. However, this is not true. According to the Steve Biko Foundation, he was born in King William’s Town (presently called the Eastern Cape). This is where he grew up till he began fighting colonialists. His upbringing made him understand more about whites and what his fellow blacks were missing.
Facts No 2. He never had the chance to know his real father, Mzingayi Mathew Biko very well. That is because his dad who was a government clerk died when he was only 4 years old. Because of this, his mother Alice, Nokuzola Biko who worked as a maid, struggled a lot to raise him and his three siblings.
Facts No 3. He was expelled from the prestigious Lovedale High School because of the political affiliation of his older brother, Khaya. According to the Steve Biko Foundation, Khaya was an activist as well as a member of the Pan-African Congress of Azania.
Facts No 4. After leaving Lovedale High School, Steve Biko won a scholarship to study at St. Francis College. While here, he sharpened his skills of fighting the apartheid regime and went on to become a student leader. After graduation, he joined University of Natal Medical School in Durban in 1966 to study medicine.
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