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Memorable and worthwhile quotes from Steve Biko

Steve Biko was a prominent and eminent activist who fought the apartheid regime using the Black Consciousness Movement. His ideas were so fierce that he got banned in 1973, and he later died under police custody in 1977.

His ideas never died, as he advocated for a black person who was conscious of themselves, and he fought the white supremacy that led to blacks suffering from an inferiority complex that was very intense. He said that the most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor was the mind of the oppressed.

Below are some of his memorable, pertinent, and worthwhile quotes from him during the course of his short life:

“The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves.”

Letter to SRC Presidents, I Write What I Like, 1978.

“Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time. Its essence is the realisation by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression – the blackness of their skin – and to operate as a group to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude.”

The Quest for a True Humanity, I Write What I Like, 1978.

“We do not want to be reminded that it is we, the indigenous people, who are poor and exploited in the land of our birth. These are concepts which the Black Consciousness approach wishes to eradicate from the black man’s mind before our society is driven to chaos by irresponsible people from Coca-cola and hamburger cultural backgrounds.”

The Quest for a True Humanity, I Write What I Like, 1978.

“So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with Blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior.”

“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.”

“I would like to remind the black ministry, and indeed all black people, that God is not in the habit of coming down from heaven to solve people’s problems on earth.”

“The myth of integration as propounded under the banner of the liberal ideology must be cracked because it makes people believe that something is being achieved when in reality the artificially integrated circles are a soporific to the blacks while salving the consciences of the few guilt-stricken whites.”


“Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.”


“What Black Consciousness seeks to do is to produce real black people who do not regard themselves as appendages to white society. We do not need to apologise for this because it is true that the white systems have produced through the world a number of people who are not aware that they too are people.”


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