As part of the Heritage Month celebrations in South Africa, which among others honours the memory of some of the country’s struggle icons, Professor of African politics at UNISA, Kealeboga Maphunye, is urging young people to familiarise themselves with what the Black Consciousness Movement leader, Steve Biko, stood for.
Lamenting the muted celebration of the anti-apartheid activist’s legacy, Professor Maphunye says Biko’s principles live on and are needed to tackle systemic challenges that still confront South Africa, especially the black majority.
“It is crucial that the youth of today celebrate his legacy as it depicts a strong sense of unity as a nation. It is also important that the youth stands for what they believe in and should use education as a weapon in order to understand the magnitude of Biko’s legacy,” the African politics scholar adds.
He says Biko stood for leadership with accountability and integrity, something that he believes should remain engraved in the hearts of all South Africans and history books.
The Black Consciousness Movement founder passed away 46 years ago at the age of 30, on September 12. While the apartheid police claimed he died from hunger strike – it is believed that he had succumbed to injuries he suffered from torture.
Biko’s teachings primarily focused on liberating the mind of the black majority, who had been relegated to an inferior status by the oppressive apartheid regime.
He was born in Tarkastad and grew up at Ginsberg Township in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape.
South Africa’s first democratic President, Nelson Mandela, declared his home a heritage site in 1997. Article by Karabo Hobo
Written by: Lindiwe Mabena