Literary Birthday - 18 December - Steve Biko

Steve Biko was born 18 December 1946, and died 12 September 1977

10 Quotes
  1. A Black man should be more independent and depend on himself for his freedom and not to take it for granted that someone would lead him to it. The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves.
  2. In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift—a more human face.
  3. The power of a movement lies in the fact that it can indeed change the habits of people. This change is not the result of force but of dedication, of moral persuasion.
  4. We are going to change South Africa. What we've got to decide is the best way to do that. And as angry as we have the right to be, let us remember that we are in the struggle to kill the idea that one kind of man is superior to another kind of man. And killing that idea is not dependent on the White man. We must stop looking to him to give us something. We have to fill the Black community with our own pride. We have to teach our black children black history; tell them about our black heroes, our black culture, so they don't face the white man believing they are inferior. Then we'll stand up to him in anyway he chooses. Conflict, if he likes, but with an open hand, too, to say we can all build a South Africa worth living in - a South Africa for equals, Black or White, a South Africa as beautiful as this land is, as beautiful as we are.
  5. The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. 
  6. 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. 
  7. So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with Blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior. 
  8. It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die.
  9. It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth.
  10. I write what I like.

Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. He founded the Black Consciousness Movement, which empowered and mobilised the urban black population in the country. After being tortured and beaten by state security officers, he died of a massive brain haemorrhage on 12 September 1977. His words are collected in I Write What I Like: Selected Writings  and The Testimony Of Steve Biko: Black Consciousness in South Africa.

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 by Amanda Patterson. Follow her on  Pinterest,  Facebook,  Tumblr,  Google+,  LinkedIn, and  Twitter.

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