19 September 2017

South Africa: A Failure to Think - Steve Biko and Rick Turner Frozen in Time

analysis

This month we commemorate the 40th anniversary of the murder of Steve Biko. Numerous articles have been written commenting on how relevant his ideas remain. Certainly, his ideas remain critically important, but they must not be allowed to remain frozen in time or we allow the apartheid state an important victory.

It is hard to stop ideas which have already been expressed. Even if you murder their originator, expressed ideas have a life of their own. The apartheid state knew this, but they probably had something else on their mind. They wanted to stop the evolution of Biko's ideas. The ones already out there were damaging them enough, they did not want more.

If we are to respect the memory of Biko we must ask how the line of thinking he was taking would have developed over time. At the heart of his argument was a truly human vision. He saw and brilliantly described how the apartheid state was dehumanising, how it oppressed people not just through violence and material deprivation, but through the systematic denial of their humanity. From this clear understanding emerged the critical conclusion that the victim of the story must also be the hero. True liberation...

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