Anti-apartheid struggle icon Stephen Bantu Biko paid the supreme price for the liberation of black people from oppression and bondage, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.
"Steve Biko fought white supremacy and was equally disturbed by what he saw as an inferiority complex amongst black people. He emphasised the need for psychological liberation for black people, to accompany physical liberation to undo the damage caused by apartheid," said Zuma, in a statement commemorating the 40th anniversary since Biko's death.
Zuma described Biko as a man who advocated black pride and black-resilience.
"He practiced what he preached with regards to self-reliance and led the establishment of several community projects which were aimed at improving the lives of the people.
"His ideals of self-reliance are more relevant than ever now as we push a radical socio-economic transformation agenda and the de-racialisation of the ownership, control and management of the economy," said Zuma.
"Steve Biko suffered great abuse, harassment and torture over a period of time and paid the supreme price for the liberation of black people from oppression and bondage.
"We shall always remember his sacrifice and contribution. We also thank the international community for honouring this great man and patriot in various ways," he said.
Biko died in police custody on September 12, 1977.
Zuma is expected to lay wreath, at the cell in Pretoria where the struggle icon died in.