Black History Month: Steve Biko, You’re Not Forgotten

Black History Month is a time to reflect on those who fought for us to be free and to make sure their moral courage and accomplishments, which we today enjoy, are not tucked away in the pages of our memory but are brought back to the forefront of our thoughts.

Steve Biko a Journalist, An icon in the struggles against white rule, a black conscious leader to his people became a victim of the Apartheid government of South Africa twenty-five years ago.

August 19,1977 the life of Steve Biko became extinct yet the years do not erode the memory of this freedom fighter. I was only 11 years old then living in the country of my birth, Jamaica but consciously aware of the struggles of my people, African people. Steve died six days after the beatings from four murderous white racist police of the apartheid regime that had held blacks in South Africa in sub-human bondage. Striped naked and bleeding, he was driven in the back of a police van 131 kilometers from Port Elizabeth to Pretoria until he succumbed to his injuries but his memory will live on as long as black people survive.

Nelson Mandela established a truth commission in 1994 headed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu that has the power to pardon politically motivated human rights crimes. While I have tremendous respect for both men that commission to me is nothing but a mighty stab of betrayal for those whom for seventy odd years prodded and struggled against the system, resulting in the sacrifice of many martyrs as in the case of Biko. People all over the world whom are charged with such crimes against humanity are brought to trial not to a truth and reconciliation committee and if convicted are given the full extent of the law such as those who were convicted of nazi crimes.

Under the commission the perpetrators are not required to show remorse but full confession is a condition of amnesty. It is worthy to note that these four police officers were refused amnesty in February 1999 for their role in Biko’s torture, as it was clear to the commissioner that they were not telling the truth about the murder.

As Steve remains lies in his grave, I take this opportunity to resurrect his past as anti-apartheid activist, speaking out against the evils of white dominance, white lies, and white crimes against black people. We all owe it to ourselves become acquainted with the heroes of our past and I direct you all to the movie “Cry Freedom” staring Denzil Washington base on a portrayal of Steve Biko’s life and death.