President Jacob Zuma, at the remembrance ceremony of the Bantu Steve Biko, likened himself to the father of the Black Consciousness Movement, saying he is also hated by the people he works for.
While addressing the public during the memorial ceremony, Zuma said: “We are there, some of us, hated as he was hated. At least he was hated and killed. It is better with us, we are hated with words, but it is there.
“It is what we relive always from where we are. So we are not ashamed to remember him, Steve Biko, the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement.”
The president went on to state that his comments are not politically linked but historical facts that people chose not to recognise. He referred Biko as one who had the guts and the bravery to speak his mind and die for what he believed in.
“If you talk about inequality, we are the ones who are not equal with others. If you talk about poverty or anything, it is us who need to correct the wrongs of history.
“That is why today when we talk about economic equality, we are in a sense walking in the talks that our leaders like Steve Biko preached that no one will ever come and help us like Jesus did. He comes and cleanses the sins of those on earth,”
Hence, Africans must collectively see the need to help themselves through strong government, economic and social formations. The struggle is not yet over, he said, adding that as the country has succeeded in using politics to gain strength, political rights and authority, citizens must also work together to ensure the economy is successful through land redistribution.
“These are matters we cannot shy away from because it is not yet right. If you are black and you think everything has been done, and you have an attitude, you are the type of person that we will explain that you have accepted that you are inferior and less equal to others. No one must tell you that you are not free or criticise you if you say let us change the ownership of institutions that control the economic hubs. Biko stood for that.”
“Black is beautiful. Steve Biko kept to his word that … you must remove the fear because when he was arrested and tortured, he never feared. He is a hero and we must remember him together with other heroes,” he said
Zuma visited Biko’s cell, where he was kept at the Kgosi Mampuru prison, to lay a wreath.
Struggle icon and founder of the Black Consciousness Movement Bantu Steve Biko died on September 12, 1977, after he was arrested and imprisoned in Port Elizabeth on August 18, 1977, under an apartheid government.
Read Also: Here’s Malema’s Touching Tribute To Biko
Before his death, Steve Biko was tortured and shackled to a grill which resulted in a brain haemorrhage. After then, he was taken on a 600-mile journey to Pretoria, where he died shortly arriving at the prison
While Nelson Mandela is widely seen as one who was freed to lead South Africa and reconcile the country after the fall of apartheid, many still see Biko as an icon of the struggle for majority rule.