Anti-apartheid hero, Mr. Steve Biko would have clocked 70 on Sunday 18 December, had it been his life wasn’t cut short during the apartheid era.
Biko was considered a luminary among the pantheon of great leaders who fought apartheid in South Africa.
While he was never a member of the African National Congress (ANC), the young human rights activist was targeted by the South African authorities.
He was arrested at a roadblock on August 18, 1977, where he was stripped naked and placed in manacles and taken to the Security Police headquarters in Port Elizabeth. He was subsequently subjected to inhumane torture and beating.
Biko later died while in police custody in Sept. 1977 before he was rushed to Pretoria for medical attention.
The police first claimed that he died of a week-long hunger strike, but they later said that the struggle icon hit his head against a wall during a scuffle. He was 30-year-old when he was ‘delivered’ to the claws of death.
Google Celebrates Mr. Steve Biko
A post-mortem later revealed Biko died from severe brain damage. Five former members of the South African security forces confessed to killing the activist when they appeared before a post-Truth and Reconciliation hearing.
On Sunday, December 18, search engine Google created a commemorative doodle of Biko to acknowledge his contribution to the struggle of South Africa and the world at large.
Reacting to the benevolence, Steve Biko foundation Chief Executive Officer Obenewa Amponsah expressed happiness and satisfaction with google.
Amponsah affirmed that Biko inspired many South Africans and people around the world; adding that his legacy will continue to make waves around the globe and in the hearts of many.
“I think the interest in Steve Biko’s legacy speaks to the fact that it’s relevant for so many people; issues of consciousness – people asking themselves ‘who am I?’, issues of equality and people doing things for themselves, by themselves still resonates. We are deeply honoured that so many people have joined in remembering who he is,” he said.
— SteveBikoFoundation (@BikoFoundation) December 18, 2016
Mr. Steve Biko became politically active while studying medicine at the University of Natal. He was subsequently expelled from medical school in 1972.
The icon created the South African Students’ Organization and became its first leader in 1968. At a point, he was prohibited from meeting more than one person.
Despite that, Mr. Steve Biko continued with his activities including taking part in organizing the Soweto Uprising; where police opened fire on student protestors.