Why we must never forget Biko


Steve Biko on the cover of Drum magazine.Steve Biko on the cover of Drum magazine. Photo: SA History Online


Lorraine KearneyBy Lorraine Kearney
12 September 2013

Yesterday, the United States remembered a turning point in its history – aeroplanes flying into its Twin Towers. Today, South Africa remembers its own sad history – the murder of Steve Bantu Biko.

Biko was beaten to death by apartheid police while in custody, on 12 September 1977. He was just 30 years old. Had he lived, he would have been 66 now, an elder statesman, a father, an academic, a much-revered revolutionary, or just a man. We will never know, because the world was never given the chance to see him reach his potential.

‘The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed’ – Steve Biko, 1946-1977

That he was killed is a crime: a simple murder of a family man, an instance of police brutality. Yet it also reverberates on a greater scale. His murder was a crime against humanity. The police did more than just kill a man they viewed as a thorn in their side. They killed a dream, too.

Today and every day, we must remember Bantu Stephen Biko, we must remember the horror of his death, the horror of apartheid, and the sacrifices so many people made. We must never forget, because we must strive with every fibre of our beings to stop this crime against humanity from ever happening again, anywhere in the world.