Critical  SW Seminar 4  Steve  Biko[1]
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  • 2.  
  • 3.
    • Biko, Stephen
    • (18 December 1946 - 12 September 1977)
    • South African political leader of late 1960s
    • Since death in police custody, has become martyr for
    • black nationalism and anti-apartheid movement
    • born in King William's Town, Eastern Cape
    • entered University of Natal in 1966 to study medicine
    • Biko was expelled in 1972 for his political activities
    • directed at the white-minority government for policy of
    • apartheid racial segregation
  • 4.
    • Biko sought to liberate the minds of black Africans
    • liberation grows out of realization “the most potent
    • weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the
    • oppressed”
    • one of the founders of the Black Consciousness
    • Movement (BCM) in the late 1960s
    • South African Students' Organization founded in 1968,
    • separate from the white-run NUSAS
    • Biko served as first president of organisation
    • Black People's Convention 1972 coalition of more than
    • 70 black organizations
    • Biko named honorary president.
  • 5.
    • SA government severe measures against BCM early ’70s
    • Biko banned from many activities ‘73, arrested several
    • times
    • arrested again August ‘77, severely beaten by police while
    • in custody
    • lapsed into coma and died
    • international outcry but inquest acquitted police of any
    • wrongdoing
    • Biko's relatives pressed for the re-opening of case
    • TRC in 1997 confirmed 5 former police officers confessed
    • to Biko's murder, applied for amnesty ito political crimes
    • "Biko, Stephen," Microsoft® Encarta® Online Encyclopedia 2008 © 1997-2008 Microsoft Corporation
  • 6.
    • like Fanon, initially studied medicine
    • intense concern for development of black consciousness
    • as solution to existential struggles which shape existence
    • – both as a human and as an African (Negritude)
    • can be seen as follower of Fanon and Aime Cesaire
    • contrast to more pacifist ANC leaders such as Nelson
    • Mandela and Albert Luthuli
    • struggle to restore African consciousness seen to have
    • two stages:
    • "Psychological liberation" and "Physical liberation"
  • 7. IDEOLOGY - Notes from “I write what I like” “ "The logic behind white domination is to prepare the black man for the subservient role in this country. Not so long ago this used to be freely said in parliament, even about the educational system of the black people. It is still said even today, although in a much more sophisticated language. To a large extent the evil-doers have succeeded in producing at the output end of their machine a kind of black man who is man only in form. This is the extent to which the process of dehumanisation has advanced." (p.28 par 2) … how effective was the preparation, considering the internalised and ongoing oppression that is evident?
  • 8. IDEOLOGY - Notes from “I write what I like” “ The first step is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the criome of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth. This is what we mean by an inward-looking process. This is the definition of black consciousness” (p.29 par 2) … note the “inward looking process” as an important issue in the relationship between the structural and the subjective
  • 9. IDEOLOGY - Notes from “I write what I like” “ The colonialists were not satisfied merely with holding a people in their grip and emptying the Native’s brain of all form and content, they turned to the past of the oppressed people and distorted, disfigured and destroyed it (Fanon). No longer was reference made to African culture, it became barbarism. Africa was the “dark continent”. Religious practices and customs were referred to as superstition…No wonder the African child learns to hate his heritage in his days at school. So negative is the image presented to him that he tends to find solace only in close identification with the white society.” (p.29 par 2) … the only way to overthrow Apartheid (oppression/racism) is the subjective “taking on” or “working with” the ideology of the project of Apartheid (oppression/racism)
  • 10. “ part of the approach envisaged in bringing about black consciousness has to be directed to the past, to seek to rewrite the history of the black man and produce in it the heroes who form the core of the African background” (p.29 par 5) … how successful is this project? … hence the importance of celebration, of creating heroes, of school curricula
  • 11. To anyone living in the black world, the hidden anger and turmoil could always be seen shining through the faces and actions of these voiceless masses but it was never verbalised” (p.34 par 3) … To what extent is anger about racism, oppression, verbalised now?
  • 12. “ Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being. … the fact that we are all not white does not necessarily mean that we are all black. Non-whites do exist…if one’s aspiration is whiteness but his pigmentation makes attainment of this impossible, then that person is a non-white….Black people – real black people – are those who can manage to hold their heads high in defiance rather than willingly surrender their souls to the white man” (p.48 par 2) … it is important to define oneself as black, idenitfying as a black person, not a non-white
  • 13. “ One must immediately dispel the thought that black consciousness is merely a methodology or a means to an end. What Black Consciousness seeks to do is produce at the output end of the process real black people who do not regard themselves as appendages to white society” (p.51 par 4) … Black Consciousness is not a temporary means to an end
  • 14. “ total identification with an oppressed group in a system that forces one group to enjoy privilege and to live on the sweat of another, is impossible. …The (white) liberal must fight on his own and for himself. If they are true liberals they must realise that they themselves are oppressed, and that they must fight for their own freedom and not that of the nebulous ‘they’ with whom they can hardly claim identification” (p.66 par 3) … what is the role of the person who is not oppressed? “ For a long time the black has been listening with patience to the advice he has been receiving on how best to respobnd to the kick.With painful slowness he is now beginning to show signs that it is his right and duty to respond to the kick in the way he sees fit” (p.66 par 4) … conscientisation…what does this say about the role of the social worker?
  • 15. “ The attitude of some rural African folk who are against education is often misunderstood…they see education as the quickest way of destroying the substance of the African culture…” (p.70 par 1) … how is education in SA today countering this?
  • 16. “ There is no doubt that the colour question in SA politics was originally introduced for economic reasons. The leaders of the white community had to create some kind of barrier between black and whites so that the whites could enjoy privileges at the expense of blacks and still feel free to give a moral justification for the obvious exploitation that pricked even the hardest of white consciences … while the race [problem started as an offshoot of the economic greed exhibited by white people, it has now become a serious problem on its own (p.88 par 1) … . How does this race problem manifest itself now?
  • 17. Black Consciousness defines the situation… the thesis is in fact a strong white racism, the antithesis to this must, ipso facto, be a strong solidarity amongst the blacks on whom this white racism seeks to prey. Out of these two situations we can therefore hope to reach some kind of balance – a true humanity where power politics will have no place.” (p.90 par 3) … what is the thesis and the antithesis in the present?
  • 18.