It is now almost forty years since Steve Biko died in detention and the major Black Consciousness organizations was banned. Now forty years later, the face of black politics and indeed the whole balance of power in South Africa, have changed almost beyond recognition – and yet the memory of Biko and the imprint of Black Consciousness remain indelibly with us.
Reflections on the many ways in which the Black Consciousness Movement succeeded in transforming black minds and politics by freeing people to take their destiny into their own hands – encouraging them to press the very limits and redefine what had been accepted as the bounds of possibility. Black Consciousness left a legacy of defiance in action and inspired a culture of fearlessness which was carried forward by the township youth in 1976 and sustained throughout the 1980s. For it is in South Africa’s township that there has been an awakening of the people, people who finally made the politicians move.