Tag Archives: Steve Biko

The private is political: Ramphele and the Biko affair

I tried to play devil’s advocate in a conversation where Mamphela Ramphele’s affair with Steve Biko came into question. I was stunned that in a group of black women Ramphele was not the hero or the role model of what it means to be an example of a woman to be reckoned with in the…

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Who is black and who is not?

There has not been a time in the history of racial identity in this country when the number of people who describe or define themselves in terms of their race or language group or tribe has been so low. Far too few people continue to see themselves as black (or white even) (8.8%) compared to…

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What does authentically African mean?

Over the last 20 years, self-appointed custodians of “authentic Africaness” have derogatively referred to fellow blacks as “coconuts”, that is, citizens with black skins but white souls or cultural tendencies. Perhaps instead of feeling indignant and insulted, it is important to provide a context for what is meant by this label. It may be long…

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Centre for Blackness

Exactly 100 years after Africans were dispossessed of their land and stripped of their identity and heritage, the ANC government has subsidised the opening of the new headquarters for blackness. This comes in the form of a legacy project worth more than R120 million to promote, protect and preserve the legacy of Black Consciousness visionary leader…

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If whiteness can’t be unlearned then black oppression is permanent

Many arguments have risen out of Gillian Schutte’s “Dear White People” perhaps the most progressive provided by Jackie Shandu in “Black people, fight your own battles”. Shandu argues that because Schutte’s letter is addressed to white people, it ought to be dismantled and dissected primarily by the white community who it seeks to engage in…

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Black people, fight your own battles

By Jackie Shandu Was Steve Biko over-optimistic when he said ”blacks are tired of standing on the sidelines and witnessing a game in which they should be participating”? It seems to me black South Africans do not want to be involved in the struggle for their own liberation. How else does one interpret the frenzy…

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Steve Biko joins the ANC

The ANC government deserves national applause for doing what it should have done a long time ago: honouring the legendary Black Consciousness visionary and icon, Steve Bantu Biko. Since 1994 the ANC has been accused of being myopic and self-serving in honouring men and women who have played a pivotal role in the struggle. In…

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My black president does me wrong

A friend recently posted rare footage of Steve Biko in an interview on German TV on his blog. The week of the 35th anniversary of Biko’s murder was a difficult one for South Africa. In a hard-hitting op-ed for the Mail&Guardian, Andile Mngxitama argues that we are not talking about a dream deferred, but a…

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Giving the world a human face

Since it began centuries ago, the South African struggle has been premised on creating a just and equal society that would, ultimately, be a home for all, irrespective of race, class, position or background. If African warriors who served under African kings like Ngqika of the Xhosa, Shaka of the Zulus and Moshoeshoe of Basotho…

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Liberating ourselves from unhelpful notions of struggle heroism

The theme for this year’s Heritage Month leaves me somewhat cold — even after carefully considering the major statements of the ministry of arts and culture in this regard. “Liberation heritage in honour of heroes and heroines of the liberation struggle”, that is the theme. Not that there is anything wrong with the idea of…

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