Born in 1946, Stephen (Steve) Bantu Biko became a popular voice of Black liberation in South Africa. He was among the leaders of the Black Conscious Movement which rose after the banning of the African National Congress and the Pan Africanist Congress.

He died in police custody on September 12, after being beaten by police.

Here are some of the profound quotes from Biko.

Merely by describing yourself as black, you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being.

 

You are either alive and proud or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can’t care anyway.

 

Apartheid – both petty and grand – is obviously evil. Nothing can justify the arrogant assumption that a clique of foreigners has the right to decide on the lives of a majority.

Photo: Steve Biko Foundation
Photo: Steve Biko Foundation

The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.

 

I would describe and I have described myself to people who ask as a freedom fighter.

 

Tradition has it that whenever a group of people has tasted the lovely fruits of wealth, security, and prestige, it begins to find it more comfortable to believe in the obvious lie and accept that it alone is entitled to privilege.

 

It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realize that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality.