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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Today in 1977: Bantu Stephen Biko, One of The Greatest Black Consciousness Leaders Died

Bantu Stephen Biko was a South African anti-apartheid activist. Ideologically an African nationalist and African socialist. He was at the forefront of a grassroots anti-apartheid campaign known as the Black Consciousness Movement during the late 1960s and 1970s.

His ideas articulated in a series of articles published under the pseudonym Frank Talk.

After expelled from high school for political activism. Biko enrolled in and graduated (1966) from St. Francis College, a liberal boarding school in Natal. Then entered the University of Natal Medical School.

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There he became involved in the multiracial National Union of South African Students (NUSAS), a moderate organization that had long espoused the rights of Blacks.

He soon grew disenchanted with NUSAS, believing that, instead of simply allowing Blacks to participate in white South African society, the society itself needed to restructured around the culture of the Black majority.

Black South African Students’ Organization (SASO)

In 1968 he cofounded the all-Black South African Students’ Organization (SASO), and he became its first president the following year. SASO was based on the philosophy of Black consciousness, which encouraged Blacks to recognize their inherent dignity and self-worth. In the 1970s the Black Consciousness Movement spread from university campuses into urban Black communities throughout South Africa.

Black People’s Convention

In 1972 Biko was one of the founders of the Black People’s Convention, an umbrella organization of Black consciousness groups.

Biko drew official censure in 1973, when he and other SASO members banned; their associations, movements, and public statements were thereby restricted. He then operated covertly, establishing the Zimele Trust Fund in 1975 to help political prisoners and their families.

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He was arrested four times over the next two years and was held without trial for months at a time.

How Bantu Stephen Biko Died

On August 18, 1977, he and a fellow activist seized at a roadblock and jailed in Port Elizabeth.

Biko found naked and shackled outside a hospital in Pretoria, 740 miles (1,190 km) away, on September 11 and died the next day of a massive brain hemorrhage.

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