Died: September 12, 1977
- Whites must be made to realize that they are only human, not superior. Same
with blacks. They must be made to realize that they are also human, not
- The basic tenet of black consciousness is that the black man must reject all
value systems that seek to make him a foreigner in the country of his birth and
reduce his basic human dignity.
(testimony in court, Pretoria, May 3, 1976)
- We are looking forward to a non-racial, just and egalitarian society in which
color, creed and race shall form no point of reference.
- For goodness sake, will they hear, will white people hear what we are trying
to say? Please, all we are asking you to do is to recognize that we are
humans, too. (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, in the New York Times, Jan. 3, 1985)
- The Eastern Cape Security Police were notoriously brutal, and the South African
government took a
chance in letting them question Biko because there was a real risk of harm to
him, and the Vorster government knew this would be a disaster for them.
Unfortunately, Police Minister Jimmy Kruger was a weak man who liked to court
popularity with his security police by giving them a free hand with political
prisoners. When they found they had gone too far in beating Biko, Kruger tried
to take the heat off by claiming Biko had died after a hunger strike. At a
provincial congress of the National Party, Kruger jokingly agreed with one
delegate that it was "democratic to give prisoners the democratic right to
starve themselves''. Within days, though, the starvation story was abandoned,
because I had gone with Biko's widow to view his body at a small rural mortuary
and it was obvious he had lost no weight from his normally bulky body. It was
equally obvious that he had been badly beaten up, with marks of blows to the
head, which explained why we had been given the runaround by police.
(Donald Woods, _Mail & Guardian_ (South Africa), February 4, 1997
- We are gathered here to pay homage to one of the greatest sons of our nation,
Stephen Bantu Biko. His hope in life, and his life of hope, are captured by his
resounding words: "In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa
the greatest possible gift - a more human face."...
History called upon Steve Biko at a time when the political pulse of our people
had been rendered faint by banning, imprisonment, exile, murder and banishment.
Repression had swept the
country clear of all visible organisation of the people...It is the dictate of
history to bring to the fore the kind of leaders who seize the moment, who
cohere the wishes and aspirations
of the oppressed. Such was Steve Biko, a fitting product of his time; a proud
representative of the re-awakening of a people.
(South African President Nelson Mandela, address in commemoration of the
twentieth anniversary of Steve Biko's death, London, September 12, 1997)
alt.quotations was the source of these quotes.