Steve Biko

Charles Ezra Ferrell

Southfield, United States

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Stephen (Steve) Biko, the founder of the Black Consciousness Movement, was born December 18,1946 in King William’s Town, Eastern Cape, South Africa and reborn on September 12, 1977.

“I Write What I Like” by Biko and Denzel Washington’s portrayal of Biko in “Cry Freedom” (DVD, 1987) are highly recommended. My life has been enriched through the study of this great prophetic African voice of humanity.

We have not forgotten his great courage and sacrifice. This portrait is offered as a token of my love and appreciation for the magnificent spirit named Stephen Biko.


I think what we need in our society is the power by us blacks to innovate. We have got the very system from which we can expand, from which we can innovate, to say: this is what we believe, accept or not accept . . . Cultures affect each other, like fashions, and you cannot escape rubbing against someone else’s culture. But you must have the right to reject or not anything that is given to you."

“The basic tenet of black consciousness is that the black man must reject all value systems that seek to make him a foreigner in the country of his birth and reduce his basic human dignity.”

“We are looking forward to a non-racial, just and egalitarian society in which color, creed and race shall form no point of reference.”

“South Africa is the homeland of white facades, black blood, and black tears. This country, rich in natural resources and inherent beauty is also home to one of the greatest social and political evils of our time. As a continual conclusion to history’s racial problems, the South African white government has suppressed the native Africans for hundreds of years. In the last century, this uncompromising situation has continually been re-enforced through governmental legislation spear- headed by the vanguard racists, the Afrikaner National Party. Native South Africans finally voiced their suppressed anger and frustration at the government in the late1950’s, as the National Party was passing protective legislature to ensure their paranoiac hold on political, economic and social power. "

“We are not concerned with that curious bunch of non-conformists…that bunch of do-gooders that goes under all sorts of names – liberals, leftists, etc. These are all the people who argue that they are not responsible for white racism…These are all the people who claim that they too feel the oppression just as acutely as the blacks and therefore should be jointly involved in the black man’s struggle…. In short, these are the people who say that they have black souls wrapped up in white skins.”

“I think, My Lord, in a government where democracy is allowed to work, one of the principles that are normally entrenched is a feed- back system, a discussion in other words between those who formulate policy and those who must perceive, accept, or reject policy. In other words, there must be a system of education, political education…”“Even today, we are still accused of racism. This is a mistake. We know that all interracial groups in South Africa are relationships in which whites are superior, blacks inferior. So as a prelude whites must be made to realize that they are only human, not superior. Same with blacks. They must be made to realize that they are also human, not inferior”.

“The overall analysis, therefore, based on the Hegelian theory of dialectic materialism, is as follows. That since the thesis is a white racism there can only be one valid antithesis i.e. a solid black unity to counterbalance the scale…. We can never wage any struggle without offering a strong counterpoint to the white races that permeate our society so effectively”.

The following are works by Steve Biko:
Steve Biko: Black Consciousness In South Africa. New York: Random, 1978. Arnold, Millard W. Black viewpoint / editor: B.S. Biko. Durban : Spro-Cas Black Community. Study Project on Christianity in Apartheid Society.

Steve Biko: Black Consciousness In South Africa. New York: Random House, 1978. Edited by Millard Arnold Contains Biko’s testimony during his trial on May 3, 1976.

I Write What I Like, edited by Aelred Stubbs. London : Bowerdean, 1978. [EDITED BY] AELRED STUBBS.

I Write What I Like: a selection of his writings. New ed. London: Bowerdean, 1978. Edited with a personal memoir by Aelred Stubbs C.R. Preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with a new introduction by Malusi and Thoko Mpumlwana.

I Write What I Like: selected writings, edited with a personal memoir by Aelred Stubbs ; preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu ; introduction by Malusi and Thoko Mpumlwana ; with a new foreword by Lewis R. Gordon. Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2002.

No Fears Expressed, edited by Millard W. Arnold. Johannesburg : Skotaville, 1987. Arnold, Millard W.

For more information: Steve Biko Foundation Online –

Artwork Comments

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