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Steve Biko on fighting oppression from within

Updated: Jul 28, 2021

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The Black Consciousness movement was created by the anti-apartheid activist, Steve Biko in 1968.

In his early days, Biko was active in student unions at his university. The experience of black students not sharing the same privileges, and oppression in South Africa, led him to create The Black Consciousness Movement. A movement which had the underlying idea that the empowerment of black people must start within.

Biko believed that black communities have to spiritually awaken, and free themselves from the mental colonial conditioning received. This conditioning created inferiority complexes, and the feeling of being of less worth. With his slogan, "Black is beautiful," he wanted to inspire black people to take pride in themselves and find the strength within themselves to be self sufficient and solution-focused. Black Consciousness is the intersection between spiritual, and economic empowerment. The movement gained popularity and spread across South Africa.

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Due to his huge impact on the empowerment of the black communities in their fight against the Apartheid system, public speaking, and his free movement, were restricted by the South African government. He was arrested four times, and died in police custody on 12th September 1977 from injuries after police officers assaulted him. Today (Dec 18) would have been his 74th birthday.

The idea of The Black Consciousness Movement is still very vital to free ourselves from the systemic conditioning, and message of inferiority, which is either openly or subtly received. We have to reconnect to the power within ourselves. Merriam Webster dictionary defines self love as "the appreciation of one's worth and virtues", meaning embracing every bit of who you are. Self-love comes with fully embracing our authentic self, thus also fully embracing our blackness, in whichever form we choose to express it.

Source: I write what I like, Steve Biko

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