|Born||Stephen Bantu Biko
18 December 1946
Ginsberg, South Africa
|Died||12 September 1977
Pretoria, South Africa
|Children||5, including Hlumelo Biko|
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.
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.
Black Consciousness seeks to infuse the black community with a new-found pride in themselves, their efforts, their value systems, their culture, their religion and their outlook to life.
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.
In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift – a more human face.
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.
Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time.
I would describe and I have described myself to people who ask as a freedom fighter.
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.
You are either alive and proud or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can't care anyway.
In a bid for change, we have to take off our coats, be prepared to lose our comfort and security, our jobs and positions of prestige, and our families… A struggle without casualties is no struggle.
The fact that apartheid has been tied up with white supremacy, capitalist exploitation, and deliberate oppression makes the problem much more complex. Material want is bad enough, but coupled with spiritual poverty, it kills.
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.
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.
If one is free at heart, no man-made chains can bind one to servitude, but if one's mind is so manipulated and controlled by the oppressor, then there will be nothing the oppressed can do to scare his powerful masters.
Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.
The revolutionary sees his task as liberation not only of the oppressed but also of the oppressor. Happiness can never truly exist in a state of tension.
The basic tenet of black consciousness is that the black man must reject all value systems that seek to make him a foreigner in the country of his birth and reduce his basic human dignity.
We know that all interracial groups in South Africa are relationships in which whites are superior, blacks inferior. So as a prelude, whites must be made to realize that they are only human, not superior. Same with blacks. They must be made to realize that they are also human, not inferior.