The current administration rides on the coattails of past true freedom fighter veterans. Not the type that throws water bottles in Parliament and exchanges thwarts of anger amidst cellulite and botched out braids. This is the type that paid with blood – with their lives for the freedom we all experience today. They did not buy votes with food packages, they fought a struggle, even knowing that they might not see freedom in their lifetime. Such an icon is comrade Steve Biko. But we ask in all solemness, would he have approved of this ‘Cash’ hungry, and corrupt administration. Maybe he would have hauled it worst than the fetters of apartheid.
Even though Biko was never a member of the African National Congress (ANC), the ANC has included him in the pantheon of struggle heroes, going as far as using his image for campaign posters in South Africa’s first non-racial elections in 1994. Nelson Mandela said of Biko: “They had to kill him to prolong the life of apartheid.”
Stephen Bantu Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977) was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. As a student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. Since his death in police custody, he has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement. While living, his writings and activism attempted to empower black people, and he was famous for his slogan “black is beautiful”, which he described as meaning: “man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being.”
On 11 September 1977, police loaded him in the back of a Land Rover, naked and restrained in manacles, and began the 1,100 kilometres (680 mi) drive to Pretoria to take him to a prison with hospital facilities. He was nearly dead owing to the previous injuries. He died shortly after arrival at the Pretoria prison, on 12 September. The police claimed his death was the result of an extended hunger strike, but an autopsy revealed multiple bruises and abrasions and that he ultimately succumbed to a brain hemorrhage from the massive injuries to the head, which many saw as strong evidence that he had been brutally clubbed by his captors. Then Donald Woods, a journalist, editor and close friend of Biko’s, along with Helen Zille, later leader of the Democratic Alliance political party, exposed the truth behind Biko’s death.
Steve Biko is as relevant today as he was back then. Every true activist will fight the scourge of corruption and unfairness just as he did, even if it means ‘biting the hand that feeds you.’ If there is any fibre of activism in the very living being of any Madibeng resident, they will assuredly not placidly comply to the corruption, greediness, and manipulation of our tax funds as lavishly enjoyed by our municipal officials. Will you dare to be a Steve Biko? We are already branded as government haters for spilling the beans like a good old-fashioned Hellen Zille type journalist. Make your voice heard and join the multitudes in your midst against corruption.