People of color in general have been oppressed for a long time by oppressors, which were white men. Black people in particular were the most affected. From slavery to apartheid, black people had lost their identities. As a consequence, in South Africa, one of the most racial segregated countries in Africa, many black leaders have stand against apartheid. Steve Biko was one of them. As an activist, Steve Biko dedicated his entire life by fighting apartheid in South Africa.
The black consciousness movement he founded, his speeches and writings, and his leadership have played a significant role in fighting apartheid. The first action that Steve Biko initiated against apartheid was to found the black consciousness movement. This powerful movement empowered and mobilized black South Africans against apartheid. For instance, BCM had fought for a political self-reliance and the unification of university students in a black consciousness. Moreover, Biko and the BCM played a significant role in organizing the protests which culminated in the “Soweto uprising.
The BCM‘s philosophy influenced South African youth to change the oppressive situation by rejecting apartheid. The movement main concern was to make the black man be himself, and to infuse him with pride and dignity. It also reminded the black man of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth. In result, the BCM has rallied much of urban black population in fighting apartheid. Second, Biko’s speeches and writings played important roles in fighting apartheid.
Biko spent his entire life preaching and writing to Black South Africans. For example, he was famous for his slogan “Black is beautiful” which he described as meaning: “man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself human being”. Another of his powerful speech held at a student conference is to make the point that: “the most potent weapon in the hand of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed”. His powerful speeches and writings inspired and encouraged black people to fight for their identities.
Moreover, Biko became friend with Donald Woods, a journalist editor, who later played a key role in publishing a book about Biko’s life and history. Because of the influence of his speeches and writings, Biko was banned by the apartheid regime, and could not write publicly or speak with the media. Finally, Steve Biko was a great leader. As a student leader, he founded the BCM and, as an anti-apartheid activist, he stood against the oppressor until his death. His strong leadership has made him a martyr in South Africa after his death.
For instance, he played an important role in his community by forming a number of grassroots organizations based on the notion of self-reliance. He created a trust fund which helped support former political prisoners and their families. Another of his action was to create an education fund and to initiate some works project. Furthermore, he inspired the black community on how it is important to be self-dependant. His ideas and conviction have influenced his entire generation.
He also was one of the founders of the South African Students’ Organization (SASO), which was the beginning of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). To conclude, Steve Biko was one of the most powerful leaders of his time, and he died in martyr, fighting the apartheid regime. Steve Biko was also a community educator, a communicator and a great leader. His life and his actions had contributed to end the apartheid. He was assassinated by the apartheid regime, because of his fights. However, his ideas and conviction were successful and remained in South Africa’s history.
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