Steve Bantu Biko - Biography

Essay by Hikaruhina February 2009

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Stephen Bantu Biko (Personal History)Stephen Bantu Biko (18 December 1946 - 12 September 1977) was born in King Williamstown, Cape Province, South Africa as the second son (third child) of Mzimgayi Biko. A noted anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, he had been regarded as a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement after his covered death in police custody.

Biko was raised and educated in a Christian home and later became a student at Wentworth - a White medical school in Durban. There he was initially involved with the National Union of South African Students, but after he became convinced that Black, Indian and Coloured students needed an organization of their own, he formed SASO (South African Students' Organization) in 1968 and was elected its first president. Later the SASO developed into the BCM (Black Consciousness Movement). He was banned as a result of his political activities in March 1973, resulting in the restriction of areas and was forbidden to make any speeches (not allowed to speak to more than one person at a time).

Even after the ban - during which his movements were restricted to the Eastern Cape, his home province - he continued to fight for black consciousness. By 1972, he became honorary president of the Black People's Convention.

On 21 August 1977, Biko was arrested at a police road block under the Terrorism Act no. 83 of 1967. Thereafter he suffered a major head injury and other humiliations while in police custody. Biko died shortly after arriving in a prison in Pretoria on 12 September. Despite the authorities denying responsibilities for the cause of his death, this event opened the public's eyes to the cruel apartheid establishment and motivated further anti-apartheid activities.

Biko's wife, Ntsiki Mashalaba, was also an outstanding thinker within the organization. Ntsiki and Biko conceived two children together: Nkosinathi and Samora. He also had two children with Dr. Mamphela Ramphele (a famous activist of BCM)- a daughter who died at the age of two months after birth in 1974, and a son (Hlumelo) who was born in 1978, after Biko's death.

Note: Please be warned that due to conflicting info from sources, several facts are unsure of and as such should be used with caution. The most contradictive one of which is whether Biko went to the institution of Wentworth (as stated in the above essay) or at the University of Natal (see below reference at Wiki). The date at which he became the honorary president of BPC is also uncertain.

Any corrections, suggestions, critics etc. are welcome!Bibliography - Stephen Bantu Biko1. African history online (09 2007)2. News (1997-12-08).

3. Consciousness 1977-1987, by Nigel Gibson4., Steve Biko5. dot com, Steve Biko6. Leaders of the Past, Steve Biko