10 Facts About Steve Biko That You Should Know

Black Consciousness Movement of Steve Biko
Black Consciousness Movement of Steve Biko

Facts No 5. He founded the Black Consciousness Movement while still a medical student at the university. The primary aim of the movement was to fight against apartheid policies and encourage black South Africans to be proud of their black culture and identity. This was done through community services and lectures.

Facts No 6. In 1972, Steve Biko was expelled from University of Nutal due to his political activities. The following year, the apartheid government banned and restricted him from talking to more than one person at a time. As if that was not enough, he was not allowed to speak in public or communicate with the media. The general public was also forbidden from quoting anything he said. As a result of the ban, Biko returned to his home in King William’s Town, where he was also barred from leaving. However, this did not stop him from fighting for his fellow black people. He carried out several campaigns at the grassroots that increased his influence despite the attempts by the government to silence him.

Facts No 7. On August 18, 1977, Biko was arrested on terrorism charges at a police road block. This allowed the police to indefinitely hold him in solitary confinement for purposes of interrogation.

Facts No 8. While in jail, Steve Biko was beaten and tortured by the officers in charge, leaving him unconscious and near death. But despite his serious injuries, they denied him access to medical attention. He died while restrained and naked after suffering a major head injury.

Facts No 9. The police officers involved in Steve Biko’s arrest, torture and death were never charged with murder. The magistrate said that they could not be charged due to lack of eye witnesses. Consequently, his family was paid $78,000 as compensation for his death by the South African government.

Facts No 10. The South African government lied about the cause of Biko’s death. Instead of admitting to the public that he died in hands of the police, they lied that he died due to hunger strike. This was to prevent black South Africans from protesting and remove any blame on the government.

Though Steve Biko may be dead, he will always be remembered around the world for fighting against apartheid and encouraging South Africans to be proud of their black identity and cultural heritage