Bibliographic details for the Source Text Biko, Steve, () Stubbs, Aelred. (fl. ) (ed.) I Write What I Like: Steve Biko. A selection of his. steve biko i write what i like pdf free download. Steve Biko I Write What I Like Pdf Free Download. Reads 1 Vote 1 Part Story. retuafibfe By retuafibfe. Read "I Write What I Like Selected Writings" by Steve Biko available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first download. "The most potent .
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Author(s): Biko, Steve | Abstract: No abstract. Download PDF. Main. PDF. Citation. EndNote. Share. EmailFacebookTwitter. I Write What I Like. Author(s). steve biko i write what i like book ebook, steve biko i write what i like book pdf, steve biko i write what i like book doc and steve biko i write what i like book epub . Such was Steve Biko, a fitting product of his time; a proud Thirty years ago, on 12 September , Bantu Stephen Biko, Steve Biko, I write what I like.
These areas call for intense research to provide some sorely-needed missing links. His quest is not to return to some primordial or glorious past, but to return to it in spirit and seek inspiration from that history to make it relevant to the present. Philosophy is the academic study of knowledge, thought, and the study of life. It also includes any system of beliefs or values, or a personal outlook or viewpoint.
Originally, philosophy comes from the Greek word philosophia which means love of wisdom. The latter phrase encapsulates Steve Bantu Biko. His love of knowledge and wisdom permeate the text. It is a direct result of his study of life in South Africa, Africa and what is happening globally, plus his voracious reading. He absorbs it all and uses his understanding to mould a philosophy that addresses the subjugation of Blacks in apartheid South Africa by demystifying the myths, systems or beliefs used to justify the oppression of Africans.
He gives the people a revolutionary outlook that breathes new life into them and the confidence to face the system as re-born men and women. He never writes to boast or show-off. His intention is to change the thinking of Africans. He is committed to engaging with the ordinary person. He wants to be understood. This is reflected in a response he gives to an interviewer in Our Strategy for Liberation. The teacher, the educator, in him is obvious.
The lucid exposition of the Black Consciousness Philosophy in the book speaks for itself. These articles appeared in the SASO newsletter which was the theoretical organ of the Black Consciousness Movement; it was the medium used to disseminate ideas and educate its adherents and the wider society. Despite his experiences with the apartheid police and subjugation by the regime, Biko is not bitter. This text lacks bitterness.
He maintains an objective perspective which indicates a sense of fairness. He retains that rare humane trait exhibited by philosopher kings or prophet intellectuals.
He transcends the vanity created by the apartheid regime and its dehumanisation of the indigenous people. It is the first time that a leader in South Africa articulates a liberation ideology or philosophy that addresses the psychological emancipation of the people.
Most leaders merely concentrated on the external factors such as unjust laws, toyi toying, violent struggle, sabotage, etc. Biko digs deeper than the skin and addresses the mind. Therefore, he has a hard sell because his ideas are new. Unlike other leading intellectuals or those who use their intellectual powers of persuasion to uphold the status quo, and cloud their message through the use of abstract terms, or the language of academia to make their work accessible to the privileged minority, Biko writes in a simple, concise, precise and fluid manner.
Therefore, he keeps his writing accessible to the audience he is addressing. Rather it addresses the conditions of the oppressed and exploited.
He also elaborates how language is used and received by people from different cultures because of our different ways of reading or interpreting the context and contents of a speech. You in the middle who is an Englishman, who looks at words you know piecemeal, you may have problems, but the person who perceives it within the crowd has no problem.
They are at one, they understand what they are talking about. You may not understand it because you are looking at the precise meaning of words. Because it is accessible, it is persuasive especially to people who understand the apartheid context and the historical period. The longevity of I Write What I Like bears testament to its persuasiveness and relevance decades after it was published.
That he writes so simply and persuasively reflects his clarity of mind, his ideas and his ability to communicate complex ideas at the level of a layman to a layman without watering down the strength of the argument. His clarity of thought is a hallmark of a philosopher. He is not interested in the abstract ideas numerous philosophers pursue.
It tackles the realities of the oppressed and creates a fighting philosophy in the process. Firstly, we forget that he was only 23 years when he began to develop his own ideas and thinking about Black Consciousness. Not many people at that age have such a clear conception of society or the world to start formulating such strong ideas. To say he did it alone is untrue.
He worked with friends like Barney Pityana and other fellow students. Together they formed an intellectual cell where they debated and discussed issues and exchanged ideas.
Out of that cell emerged the Black Consciousness Movement. Its genesis and development follows similar lines of social change and revolutionary intellectual movements throughout the history of the world. In addition, I alluded to how Steve was a lover of wisdom. Steve was a medical student but he could debate the finer points of literary criticism with Barney who was an English major.
His voracious reading expanded his intellectual horizons and allowed him to engage proficiently and intelligently with numerous disciplines such as philosophy, sociology, psychology, religion, history, politics, current affairs, etc. That he was widely read, is evident in his comfort and ability to discuss different subjects, quote from myriad sources or bring together an amalgamation of ideas and apply them to the South African context and mould them into Black Consciousness.
We take our access to books, research papers, historical documents and the internet for granted. However, his voracious reading of what he could lay his hands helped him forge an international perspective and ideas that were universal in their appeal.
He was an astute observer of the events unfolding in the world such as the politics of decolonisation of Africa and India and the African Diaspora. He was well versed in the local South African history and the resistance the locals put up against the British and Dutch settlers. All these various struggles that preceded him informed his ideas and helped to shape his philosophy.
The politics of the Civil Rights Movement in the US was also crucial to his learning and developing certain tenets of the Black Consciousness Philosophy. He despairs at the role Christianity plays in the subjugation of Black people and calls for its reformation borrowing ideas from Black Theology and modifying them to suit the South African context.
Black theology is historically an American product emerging from the Black situation there. While not wishing to discuss Black Theology at length, let it suffice to say that it seeks to relate God and Christ once more to the black man and his daily problems. It wants to describe Christ as a fighting God, not a passive God who allows a lie to go unchallenged.
It grapples with existential problems and does not claim to be an ideology of absolutes. It seeks to bring back God to the black man and to the truth and reality of his situation.
This is an important aspect of Black Consciousness, for quite a large proportion of black people in South Africa are Christians still swimming in a mire of confusion — the aftermath of the missionary approach. There are very few surviving audio or video recordings of Steve Biko.
He never got the opportunity to pen his own memoirs or autobiography to tell his own story. However, a lot has been written about him.
There are numerous articles, essays and books about him or his work, critiquing it. Songs have been made about him. Documentaries and films too. All these individual narratives are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that build a composite picture of the man, the legend, the tragic hero and the revolutionary.
They aid us in understanding how the world embraced him and what he represented. They illustrate the internationalist appeal of his work and the peoples it touched. Furthermore, they reinforce his enduring legacy. There are those who accused him of racism. Others who used that approach tried to undermine his legitimate concerns by attempting to portray him as a racist were the secret police and the state to undermine his message and uphold the status quo.
The text speaks for itself. Rather Biko preaches non-violence. He preaches understanding. He addresses the concerns of those who claimed Blacks were racists. This is a favourite pastime of frustrated liberals who feel their trusteeship ground being washed off from under their feet.
They have been doing things for blacks, on behalf of blacks, and because of blacks. When the blacks announce that the time has come for them to do things for themselves all white liberals shout blue murder… What blacks are doing is merely to respond to a situation in which they find themselves the objects of white racism.
We are in a position in which we are because of our skin. We are collectively segregated against — what can be more logical than for us to respond as a group? The definition of Blacks is not a matter of pigmentation or a lack of it but a mental attitude of declaring oneself as Black.
It is an inclusive term including oppressed groups such as the Coloureds otherwise referred to as mixed race in other countries and Indians. These three groups were often referred to as non-white in South Africa and used as buffer layers between Blacks and whites but Biko and the BCM rejected that classification because it treated them as an inferior subspecies or subhuman of what was considered the norm — white. This definition is both political and strategic to build up a powerful alliance between oppressed and exploited groups.
We are grateful because it is the closest we can get to his own thinking without the use of an intermediary. Nothing is lost in translation or interpretation. The text remains unaltered except for the brief paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter that provide a basic commentary putting the articles into context. It provides us with insight into the evolution of the BCM from a small students union [SASO] through to its transformation into a fully fledged movement with various organisations linked to it such as the BPC.
However, in chapter 4, the word is obliterated from their vocabulary or conscience. It is nonexistent. From then on they refer to themselves as Black. The text sets out the definition of Black Consciousness philosophy. They affiliate on behalf of their students. Where there is no SRC we accept a majority student body decision as an automatic affiliation by that centre. Individual membership is also catered for.
It consists of the delegates from the various centres and branches and also the Executive. This is the official policy-making body of SASO. The President is the sole interpreter of policy in between sessions. It lays stress on Calvinism and Afrikanerdom as criteria for membership. It also concerns itself with a practical application of Christian principles in an immoral society like the South African one.
The press is largely directed at white society or the so-called electorate whose values are laced with racial prejudice against black people. Equally SASO rejects the black press which up to now has been largely controlled and some of it financed by government institutions. We believe that alongside Radio Bantu, most of the black press is being used as instruments of propaganda to get people to swallow most of the unbalanced and inflated stories about "what the government is doing for the Bantus" or " Put in a paraphrased form these are: 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.
We have reached a stage now where our existence has become an accomplished fact and our way of seeing things has been adopted by a substantial number on the black campuses. Our limited dialogue with NUSAS, which has been along lines of constructive criticism, has been interpreted deliberately by some groups, including officials of ASB as a rejection of nonracialism as a political goal.
It is on the other hand, we believe, a painful waste of time to engage in any dialogue with racially-bigoted organisations like the ASB. Hence this belies the belief that our withdrawal is an end in itself.
It is based on discussions at student body meetings, SRC meetings and with small groups of individuals outside local leadership circles. Slowly at first and quite fast of late, the black student community is casting aside the old approach towards solving its problems. A definite spirit of independence and an awareness of ourselves as a group with potential strength is beginning to manifest itself in many ways.
On many an occasion I found the various campuses not only ready to support but also eager to join in directing the thinking of SASO. It was generally agreed that at this stage of our history, the most logical step is to follow the directive given by SASO i. One striking feature is the steep decline in the intensity of the "morality" argument. Some time ago quite a lot of people used to be violently opposed to "segregation" even when practised by blacks against whites.
The idea that blacks and whites can participate as equal partners in an open organisation is being questioned even by the most ardent black supporters of non-racialism. These people realise now that a lot of time and strength is wasted in maintaining artificial and token nonracialism at student levelartificial not in the sense that it is natural to segregate but rather because even those involved in it have certain prejudices that they cannot get rid of and are therefore basically dishonest to themselves, to their black counterparts and to the community of black people who are called upon to have faith in such people.
Another noticeable feature is that most of the students, while very [Page 18 ] sure of what they did not like in it, and who were quite harsh in their criticism of the old approach, yet lacked a depth of insight into what can be done.
One found wherever he went the question being asked repeatedly "where do we go from here? Hence our originality and imagination have been dulled to the point where it takes a supreme effort to act logically even in order to follow one's beliefs and convictions.
A third and also important observation was the eagerness of the students to wish to relate whatever is done to their situation in the community. There is growing awareness of the role the black students may be called upon to play in the emancipation of their community.
The students realise that the isolation of the black intelligentsia from the rest of the black society is a disadvantage to black people as a whole. When everything is said and done one must express pleasant surprise at the quality of leadership on the various campuses.
The history of most of the black campuses is marred with restrictions and intimidations.
One would have thought that by now everybody has been cowed down to the point of dogged acceptance of all that comes from authority. Yet at many places I was surprised by the sheer bargaining power that the SRCs have built with their respective authorities. Strong delegations are being sent from most of the black campuses to the SASO conference where a concerted effort will be made to get answers to some of the questions.
The conference promises to be both interesting and enlightening especially in view of the diversity that one finds in approach. But some things are common to allto bear witness to the unity of the black students, to give proper direction and depth to the movement and to make themselves worthy of the claim that they are the leaders of tomorrow. I was Frank Talk" see p. This article and the one that follows, from the August and September issues of the Newsletter respectively, give an authentic exposition of the philosophy of Black Consciousness.
Basically the South African white community is a homogeneous community. It is a community of people who sit to enjoy a privileged position that they do not deserve, are aware of this, and therefore spend their time trying to justify why they are doing so.
Where differences in political opinion exist, they are in the process of trying to justify their position of privilege and their usurpation of power. With their theory of "separate freedoms for the various nations in the multinational state of South Africa" the Nationalists have gone a long way towards giving most of white South Africa some sort of moral explanation for what is happening.
Everyone is quite content to point out that these peoplemeaning the blackswill be free when they are ready to run their own affairs in their own areas. What more could they possibly hope for? We are concerned with that curious bunch of nonconformists who explain their participation in negative terms: These are the people who argue that they are not responsible for white racism and the country's "inhumanity to the black man".
These are the people who claim that they too feel the oppression just as acutely as the blacks and therefore should be jointly involved in the black man's struggle for a place under the sun. In short, these are the people who say that they have black souls wrapped up in white skins. The role of the white liberal in the black man's history in South Africa is a curious one.
Very few black organisations were not under white direction. True to their image, the white liberals always knew what was good for the blacks and told them so. The wonder of it all is that the black people have believed in them for so long. It was only at the end of the 50s that the blacks started demanding to be their own guardians.
Nowhere is the arrogance of the liberal ideology demonstrated so well as in their insistence that the problems of the country can only be solved by a bilateral approach involving both black and white. This has, by and large, come to be taken in all seriousness as the modus operandi in South Africa by all those who claim they would like a change in the status quo.
Hence the multiracial political organisations and parties and the "nonracial" student organisations, all of which insist on integration not only as an end goal but also as a means. The integration they talk about is first of all artificial in that it is a response to conscious manoeuvre rather than to the dictates of the inner soul.
In other words the people forming the integrated complex have been extracted from various segregated societies with their inbuilt complexes of superiority and inferiority and these continue to manifest themselves even in the "nonracial" set-up of the integrated complex. As a result the integration so achieved is a one-way course, with the whites doing all the talking and the blacks the listening. Let me hasten to say that I am not claiming that segregation is necessarily the natural order; however, given the facts of the situation where a group experiences privilege at the expense of others, then it becomes obvious that a hastily arranged integration cannot be the solution to the problem.
Secondly, this type of integration as a means is almost always unproductive. The participants waste lots of time in an internal sort of mudslinging designed to prove that A is more of a liberal than B.
In other words the lack of common ground for solid identification is all the time manifested in internal strifes inside the group. It will not sound anachronistic to anybody genuinely interested in real integration to learn that blacks are asserting themselves in a society where they are being treated as perpetual unders.
One does not need to plan for or actively encourage real integration. Once the various groups within a given community have asserted themselves to the point that mutual respect has to be shown then you have the ingredients for a true and meaningful integration. At the heart of true integration is the provision for each man, each group to rise and attain the envisioned self.
Each group must be able to attain its style of existence without encroaching on or being thwarted by another. Out of this mutual respect for each other and complete freedom of self-determination there will obviously arise a genuine fusion of the life-styles of the various groups.
This is true integration. From this it becomes clear that as long as blacks are suffering from inferiority complexa result of years of deliberate oppression, denigration and derisionthey will be useless as co-architects of a normal society where man is nothing else but man for his own sake.
Hence what is necessary as a prelude to anything else that may come is a very strong grass-roots build-up of black consciousness such that blacks can learn to assert themselves and stake their rightful claim. Thus in adopting the line of a nonracial approach, the liberals are playing their old game. They are claiming a "monopoly on intelligence and moral judgement" and setting the pattern and pace for the realisation of the black man's aspirations.
They want to remain in good books with both the black and white worlds. They want to shy away from all forms of "extremisms", condemning "white supremacy" as being just as bad as "Black Power! They vacillate between the two worlds, verbalising all the complaints of the blacks beautifully while skilfully extracting what suits them from the exclusive pool of white privileges. But ask them for a moment to give a concrete meaningful programme that they intend adopting, then you will see on whose side they really are.
The myth of integration as propounded under the banner of liberal ideology must be cracked and killed because it makes people believe that something is being done when in actual fact the artificial integrated circles are a soporific on the blacks and provide a vague satisfaction for the guilty-stricken whites. It works on a false premise that because it is difficult to bring people from different races together in this country, therefore achievement of this is in itself a step forward towards the total liberation of the blacks.
Nothing could be more irrelevant and therefore misleading. Those who believe in it are living in a fool's paradise. First the black-white circles are almost always a creation of white liberals. As a testimony to their claim of complete identification with the blacks, they call a few "intelligent and articulate" blacks to "come around for tea at home", where all present ask each other the same old hackneyed question "how can we bring about change in South Africa?
Hence he moves around his white circles whites-only hotels, beaches, restaurants and cinemaswith a lighter load, feeling that he is not like the rest of the others. Yet at the back of his mind is a constant reminder that he is quite comfortable as things stand and therefore should not bother about change.
Although he does not vote for the Nats now that they are in the majority anyway , he feels quite secure under the protection offered by the Nats and subconsciously shuns the idea of a change. This is what demarcates the liberal from the black world. The liberals view the oppression of blacks as a problem that has to be solved, an eye sore spoiling an otherwise beautiful view.
From time to time the liberals make themselves forget about the problem or take their eyes off the eyesore. On the other hand, in oppression the blacks are experiencing a situation from which they are unable to escape at any given moment. Theirs is a struggle to get out of the situation and not merely to solve a peripheral problem as in the case of the liberals. This is why blacks speak with a greater sense of urgency than whites.
A game at which the liberals have become masters is that of deliberate evasiveness. The question often comes up "what can I do? If you ask him to do something like stopping to use segregated facilities or dropping out of varsity to work at menial jobs like all blacks or [Page 23 ] defying and denouncing all provisions that make him privileged, you always get the answer"but that's unrealistic! While this may be true, it only serves to illustrate the fact that no matter what a white man does, the colour of his skinhis passport to privilegewill always put him miles ahead of the black man.
Thus in the ultimate analysis no white person can escape being part of the oppressor camp. This description of "metaphysical guilt" explains adequately that white racism "is only possible because whites are indifferent to suffering and patient with cruelty" meted out to the black man.
Instead of involving themselves in an all-out attempt to stamp out racism from their white society, liberals waste lots of time trying to prove to as many blacks as they can find that they are liberal. This arises out of the false belief that we are faced with a black problem. There is nothing the matter with blacks. The sooner the liberals realise this the better for us blacks. Their presence amongst us is irksome and of nuisance value.
It removes the focus of attention from essentials and shifts it to ill-defined philosophical concepts that are both irrelevant to the black man and merely a red herring across the track. White liberals must leave blacks to take care of their own business while they concern themselves with the real evil in our societywhite racism. Secondly, the black-white mixed circles are static circles with neither direction nor programme.
The real concern of the group is to keep the group going rather than being useful. In this sort of set-up one sees a perfect example of what oppression has done to the blacks. They have been made to feel inferior for so long that for them it is comforting to drink tea, wine or beer with whites who seem to treat them as equals. This serves to boost up their own ego to the extent of making them feel slightly superior to those blacks who do not get similar treatment from whites.
These are the sort of blacks who are a danger to the community. Instead of directing themselves at their black brothers and looking at their common problems from a common platform they choose to [Page 24 ] sing out their lamentations to an apparently sympathetic audience that has become proficient in saying the chorus of "shame?
These dull-witted, self-centred blacks are in the ultimate analysis as guilty of the arrest of progress as their white friends for it is from such groups that the theory of gradualism emanates and this is what keeps the blacks confused and always hoping that one day God will step down from heaven to solve their problems. It is people from such groups who keep on scanning the papers daily to detect any sign of the change they patiently await without working for. When Helen Suzman's 3 majority is increased by a couple of thousands, this is regarded as a major milestone in the "inevitable change".
Nobody looks at the other side of the cointhe large-scale removals of Africans from the urban areas or the impending zoning of places like Grey Street in Durban and a myriad of other manifestations of change for the worse.
Does this mean that I am against integration? I am against the superior-inferior whiteblack stratification that makes the white a perpetual teacherand the black a perpetual pupil and a poor one at that.
I am against the intellectual arrogance of white people that makes them believe that white leadership is a sine qua non in this country and that whites are the divinely appointed pace-setters in progress. I am against the fact that a settler minority should impose an entire system of values on an indigenous people. If on the other hand by integration you mean there shall be free participation by all members of a society, catering for the full expression of the self in a freely changing society as determined by the will of the people, then I am with you.
For one cannot escape the fact that the culture shared by the majority group in any given society must ultimately determine the broad direction taken by the joint culture of that society.
This need not cramp the style of those who feel differently but on the whole, a country in Africa, in which the majority of the people are African must inevitably exhibit African values and be truly African in style. What of the claim that the blacks are becoming racists? This is a favourite pastime of frustrated liberals who feel their trusteeship [Page 25 ] ground being washed off from under their feet.
These self-appointed trustees of black interests boast of years of experience in their fight for the 'rights of the blacks'. They have been doing things for blacks, on behalf of blacks, and because of blacks. When the blacks announce that the time has come for them to do things for themselves and all by themselves all white liberals shout blue murder! You're being a racist. You're falling into their trap. Those who know, define racism as discrimination by a group against another for the purposes of subjugation or maintaining subjugation.
In other words one cannot be a racist unless he has the power to subjugate. What blacks are doing is merely to respond to a situation in which they find themselves the objects of white racism. We are in the position in which we are because of our skin. We are collectively segregated againstwhat can be more logical than for us to respond as a group? When workers come together under the auspices of a trade union to strive for the betterment of their conditions, nobody expresses surprise in the Western world.
It is the done thing. Nobody accuses them of separatist tendencies. Teachers fight their battles, garbagemen do the same, nobody acts as a trustee for another.
Somehow, however, when blacks want to do their thing the liberal establishment seems to detect an anomaly. This is in fact a counter-anomaly. The liberal must understand that the days of the Noble Savage are gone; that the blacks do not need a go-between in this struggle for their own emancipation. No true liberal should feel any resentment at the growth of black consciousness. Rather, all true liberals should realise that the place for their fight for justice is within their white society.
The liberals must realise that they themselves are oppressed if they are true liberals and therefore they must fight for their own freedom and not that of the nebulous "they" with whom they can hardly claim identification. The liberal must apply himself with absolute dedication to the idea of educating his white brothers that the history of the country may have to be rewritten at some stage and that we may live in "a country where colour will not serve to put a man in a box".
The blacks have heard enough of this. In other words, the [Page 26 ] liberal must serve as a lubricating material so that as we change the gears in trying to find a better direction for South Africa, there should be no grinding noises of metal against metal but a free and easy flowing movement which will be characteristic of a well-looked-after vehicle.
My friendships, my love, my education, my thinking and every other facet of my life have been carved and shaped within the context of separate development. In stages during my life I have managed to outgrow some of the things the system taught me. Hopefully what I propose to do now is to take a look at those who participate in opposition to the systemnot from a detached point of view but from the point of view of a black man, conscious of the urgent need for an understanding of what is involved in the new approach"black consciousness".
One needs to understand the basics before setting up a remedy. A number of the organisations now currently "fighting against apartheid" are working on an oversimplified premise.
They have taken a brief look at what is, and have diagnosed the problem incorrectly. They have almost completely forgotten about the side effects and have not even considered the root cause.
Hence whatever is improvised as a remedy will hardly cure the condition. Apartheidboth petty and grandis obviously evil. Nothing can justify the arrogant assumption that a clique of foreigners has the right to decide on the lives of a majority. Hence even carried out faithfully and fairly the policy of apartheid would merit condemnation and vigorous opposition from the indigenous peoples as well as those who see the problem in its correct perspective.
The fact that apartheid has been tied up with white supremacy, capitalist exploitation, and deliberate oppression makes the problem much more [Page 28 ] complex. Material want is bad enough, but coupled with spiritual poverty it kills.
And this latter effect is probably the one that creates mountains of obstacles in the normal course of emancipation of the black people. One should not waste time here dealing with manifestations of material want of the black people. A vast literature has been written on this problem. Possibly a little should be said about spiritual poverty. What makes the black man fail to tick? Is he convinced of his own accord of his inabilities?
Or is he simply a defeated person? The answer to this is not a clearcut one. It is, however, nearer to the last suggestion than anything else.
The logic behind white domination is to prepare the black man for the subservient role in this country. Not so long ago this used to be freely said in parliament even about the educational system of the black people. It is still said even today, although in a much more sophisticated language. To a large extent the evil-doers have succeeded in producing at the output end of their machine a kind of black man who is man only in form.
This is the extent to which the process of dehumanisation has advanced. Black people under the Smuts government were oppressed but they were still men. They failed to change the system for many reasons which we shall not consider here. But the type of black man we have today has lost his manhood. Reduced to an obliging shell, he looks with awe at the white power structure and accepts what he regards as the "inevitable position".
Deep inside his anger mounts at the accumulating insult, but he vents it in the wrong directionon his fellow man in the township, on the property of black people.
No longer does he trust leadership, for the mass arrests were blameable on bungling by the leadership, nor is there any to trust. In the privacy of his toilet his face twists in silent condemnation of white society but brightens up in sheepish obedience as he comes out hurrying in response to his master's impatient call.
In the home-bound bus or train he joins the chorus that roundly condemns the white man but is first to praise the government in the presence of the police or his employers. His heart yearns for the comfort of white society and makes him blame himself for not having been "educated" enough to warrant such luxury.
Celebrated achievements by whites in the field of sciencewhich he understands only hazilyserve to make him rather convinced of the futility of resistance and to throw away any [Page 29 ] hopes that change may ever come. All in all the black man has become a shell, a shadow of man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity.
This is the first truth, bitter as it may seem, that we have to acknowledge before we can start on any programme designed to change the status quo. 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.
This is what we mean by an inward-looking process. This is the definition of "Black Consciousness". No longer was reference made to African culture, it became barbarism. Africa was the "dark continent". Religious practices and customs were referred to as superstition. The history of African Society was reduced to tribal battles and internecine wars. There was no conscious migration by the people from one place of abode to another. No, it was always flight from one tyrant who wanted to defeat the tribe not for any positive reason but merely to wipe them out of the face of this earth.
No wonder the African child learns to hate his heritage in his days at school. So negative is the image presented to him that he tends to find solace only in close identification with the white society. No doubt, therefore, part of the approach envisaged in bringing about "black consciousness" has to be directed to the past, to seek to rewrite the history of the black man and to produce in it the heroes who form the core of the African background.
To the extent that a vast literature about Gandhi in South Africa is accumulating it can be said that the Indian community already has started in this direction.
But only scant reference is made to African heroes. A people without a positive history is like a vehicle without an engine. Their [Page 30 ] emotions cannot be easily controlled and channelled in a recognisable direction. They always live in the shadow of a more successful society. Hence in a country like ours they are forced to celebrate holidays like Paul Kruger's day. Heroes' day, Republic day etc. Then too one can extract from our indigenous cultures a lot of positive virtues which should teach the Westerner a lesson or two.
The oneness of community for instance is at the heart of our culture. The easiness with which Africans communicate with each other is not forced by authority but is inherent in the make-up of African people. Thus whereas the white family can stay in an area without knowing its neighbours, Africans develop a sense of belonging to the community within a short time of coming together.
Many a hospital official has been confounded by the practice of Indians who bring gifts and presents to patients whose names they can hardly recall. Again this is a manifestation of the interrelationship between man and man in the black world as opposed to the highly impersonal world in which Whitey lives. These are characteristics we must not allow ourselves to lose. Their value can only be appreciated by those of us who have not as yet been made slaves to technology and the machine.
One can quote a myriad of other examples. Here again "black consciousness" seeks to show the black people the value of their own standards and outlook. It is probably necessary at this stage to warn all and sundry about the limits of endurance of the human mind. This is particularly necessary in the case of the African people. Ground for a revolution is always fertile in the presence of absolute destitution. At some stage one can foresee a situation where black people will feel they have nothing to live for and will shout unto their God "Thy will be done.
If the white God has been doing the talking all along, at some stage the black God will have to raise His voice and make Himself heard over and above noises from His counterpart.
What happens at that stage depends largely on what happens in the intervening period. It works on the knowledge that "white hatred" is negative, though understandable, and leads to precipitate and shot-gun methods which may be disastrous for black and white alike. It seeks to channel the pent-up forces of the angry black masses to meaningful and directional opposition basing its entire struggle on realities of the situation.
It wants to ensure a singularity of purpose in the minds of the black people and to make possible total involvement of the masses in a struggle essentially theirs. What of the white man's religionChristianity?
It seems the people involved in imparting Christianity to the black people steadfastly refuse to get rid of the rotten foundation which many of the missionaries created when they came. To this date black people find no message for them in the Bible simply because our ministers are still top busy with moral trivialities. They blow these up as the most important things that Jesus had to say to people. They constantly urge the people to find fault in themselves and by so doing detract from the essence of the struggle in which the people are involved.
Deprived of spiritual content, the black people read the bible with a gullibility that is shocking.
While they sing in a chorus of "mea culpa" they are joined by white groups who sing a different version"tua culpa". The anachronism of a well-meaning God who allows people to suffer continually under an obviously immoral system is not lost to young blacks who continue to drop out of Church by the hundreds.
Too many people are involved in religion for the blacks to ignore. Obviously the only path open for us now is to redefine the message in the bible and to make it relevant to the struggling masses.
The bible must not be seen to preach that all authority is divinely instituted. It must rather preach that it is a sin to allow oneself to be oppressed. The bible must continually be shown to have something to say to the black man to keep him going in his long journey towards realisation of the self.
This is the message implicit in "black theology". Black theology seeks to do away with spiritual poverty of the black people. While basing itself on the Christian message, black theology seeks to show that Christianity is an adaptable religion that fits in with the cultural situation of the people to whom it is imparted.
Black theology seeks to depict Jesus as a fighting God who saw the exchange of Roman moneythe [Page 32 ] oppressor's coinagein His father's temple as so sacrilegious that it merited a violent reaction from Himthe Son of Man. Thus in all fields "Black Consciousness" seeks to talk to the black man in a language that is his own.
It is only by recognising the basic set-up in the black world that one will come to realise the urgent need for a re-awakening of the sleeping masses. Black consciousness seeks to do this.
Needless to say it shall have to be the black people themselves who shall take care of this programme for indeed Sekou Toure was right when he said: To take part in the African revolution, it is not enough to write a revolutionary song; you must fashion the revolution with the people.
And if you fashion it with the people, the songs will come by themselves and of themselves. In order to achieve real action you must yourself be a living part of Africa and of her thought; you must be an element of that popular energy which is entirely called forth for the freeing, the progress and the happiness of Africa.
There is no place outside that fight for the artist or for the intellectual who is not himself concerned with, and completely at one with the people in the great battle of Africa and of suffering humanity. Over and over again the pattern of resistance to the apartheid-created structures has been the same. First, open and defiant rejection; second, sullen acquiescence and reluctant collaboration; lastly, capitulation and corruption.
The system operates with a cruel relentlessness, and also with seductive bribery: Of particular interest here is the reference in the last paragraph but two to the amount of "community work that neeeds to be done in promoting a spirit of self-reliance". This article was written a year before Steve decided to devote himself full-time to this kind of work by joining Black Community Programmes.
It would be instructive to compare the consistent integrity of all Steve's writings and attitudes on this key issue of "working within the system" with the utterances over a comparable period of time of any other black politician. This question often crosses my mind in many conversations with people throughout the country and on reading various [Page 34 ] newspaper reports on what blacks have to say on topical matters.
On the one hand Mr Pat Poovalingam in Durban was urging the Indian people to celebrate whilst, on the other, people like Mr Mewa Ramgobin and the Labour Party argued the case against celebration. In Zululand Chief Gatsha Buthelezi stated that the Zulu people would celebrate whilst elsewhere pamphlets were distributed from various black sources reminding the people that they would be celebrating the countless sins of the Nationalist Government. The interesting thing of course was the conspicuous silence of the urban African people except for the hushed objections of Soweto's UBC 5 Not at any stage did anybody state a representative opinion.
The apartheid era can be seen as the climax of their oppression. In this period a boy called Stephen Bantu Biko grew up. Steve Biko became the founder and leader of the Black Consciousness Movement which implied the philosophy that political freedom could only be achieved if blacks stopped feeling inferior to whites.
The development of Black Consciousness is considered by many to be the turning point in the demise of apartheid.
Since his life is strongly related to the development of black consciousness, it presents a big part of the essay, too. Chapter three, which presents the main part of this essay, focuses on the further progress of Black Consciousness.
It comprises a short analysis of the international situation, the development and mobilisation of SASO and explains how it came to bans, arrests and finally to the Soweto incidents. Finally, in chapter five a conclusion is given. His father Mzingaye, a clerk employed by government, studied for a law degree by correspondence through the University of South Africa, died when Steve was four years old. This is remarkable since he later on became a person whose life was dedicated to the fight against apartheid and he played a main role in the development of self-esteem and self-confidence of the by the white regime demoralized Africans.
But a good education at that time was not easy to get. In , one year after Steve began school, the Public Education Act was passed which separated the education of the blacks from the education of the whites in order to deliberately educate blacks at lower standards. However, this incidence led to an immediate reprimand from Lovedale which in turn engendered detestation for authority in Steve.
Though Christian values had meaning for him, Biko, who was an articulate youth, resented whites influencing the thinking of the future of Africans. Francis College, a liberal boarding school in Natal. He graduated in and then entered the black section of the University of Natal Medical School. Blacks were listening to their own lives being articulated by whites who had no experience of the reality. Black was defined to include Africans, Coloreds, and Indians.
The basic consideration for the separation from any whites was that the apartheid policy had created such structural inequalities in the society that blacks and whites, even when they practise multiracial activities, carried the inequity with them. Hence, Biko replaced his formerly multiracialism approach with a racially exclusivist approach, which became known as Black Consciousness. The development of black consciousness would overcome the psychological oppression of blacks by whites.
As the president of SASO Biko was able to explain his critical view of white liberals who strived to integrate blacks better in the white system, which in a radical sense meant to help blacks coping better with their given constraints within the society. The leadership style of Biko was also one of his own. Besides, Biko must have had a very good sense of humour and there was no trace of arrogance in him.
According to Dr. But he thought that everyone should have a fair share. He had especially close relationships with two women, his wife Ntsiki and his former fellow student Mamphela. A movement of black consciousness and a new Africanism swept black campuses which attracted those who had experienced the frustrations of the Bantu Education system, of obsequiousness and feelings of inferiority to whites.
In France, workers and students took to the streets in battles against the conservative Gaullist regime. University students in Britain occupied campuses calling for more democracy and student rights.
In the US, mass opposition to the war in Vietnam and the Black civil rights and Black power movements reached a climax. The establishment of SASO drew mixed responses. White liberals judged it with reverse racism but the government not only tolerated it but initially even welcomed it. Apartheid government officials mistakenly hailed it as a vindication of their separate development programme Group Areas Act, Bantu Authorities Act, Bantu Education Act etc.
But later on when the government recognized that the Black Consciousness Movement BCM which had its origins and biggest supporters in SASO might become a threat in terms of black power, the government officials were caught in a dilemma situation.
They could not refuse permission to join an organisation of the type they had been pushing students to form for a couple of years. This as well saved time to spread the BCM philosophy to a wide community. Black Consciousness emphasised the educational function of cultural and artistic activity and exploited the political resources of art, theatre, music, dance and culture in general.
These social activities have been the spark in the production of ideas and knowledge and enhanced black pride, assertiveness and solidarity beneath blacks.