What would Biko do?

I don’t wanna lie, I was never really into Biko. I didn’t know who he really was until I came to college and the people at campus who were into Biko were either: 1) Members of the SASCO SRC who acted like hooligans half the time. 2) Cheesy poets of the Yeoville variety turning Biko’s into cliches (Raise your hands if you have rolled your eyes whenever someone says “Black man you’re on your own” or my personal favourite “De-colonise your mind”) 3) Those typecast Rastafaris who would be preaching black love and black unity while they spend most of their time trying to bang a white chick so I unfortunately had a misdirected aversion to Steve Biko, plus it didn’t help that Denzel washinton hammered our accent on the movie based on Biko’s life. It wasn’t until half the people I know kept pestering me to read “I write what I like”, I tried countless times to get it from the Campus library but somebody seemed to beat me to it. I finally got hold of the book about two weeks ago, being a natural hater and a cynic, I was ready to declare the book the most overrated in South Africa but I can’t, “I write what I like” is as good as everyone says it is, everybody should read it.

But this post isn’t about that though, it’s about what I notice to be trend lately or maybe it’s been like that ever since, I don’t know what I do know is that it seems a lot of columnist are making their obligatory “what would Biko do” “how would Biko feel type post” type column. I remember some time ago, my current favourite columnist Andile Mngxitama, one of the editors of Biko Lives: Contesting the legacy of Steve Biko,  wrote an article about how if Steve Biko would still be alive he wouldn’t bother to vote and on June 16 this year he made a column on the Sowetan about how Biko wouldn’t approve how the ANC Hijacked Youth day to make it seem like they were somehow involved in it when in reality they were in exile and so on and so forth. Right now I see that Onkgopotse JJ Tabane made a similar post on thought leader.

All this sorta reminds of Rapper Tupac Shakur, I apologize for mentioning Biko and Pac in the same post ’cause Tupac was probably the most overrated artist who was popular ’cause of all his Bullshit antics and Biko was a true visionary and a leader. But both of them died and certain people decided to ‘speak on their dead bodies’ behalf’, in the case of Pac who never knew him like Eminem and 50 would make ridiculous claims in their songs like “if pac was here now, he would never ride with Ja” and in the case of Biko’s case people who also didn’t know him are making similar statements “If Biko was still alive, he would never do this or that. he would be saddened by this etc”. It’s amazing! Since we’re talking about Rap and shit, I found it appropriate to quote Political activist/ Rapper Immortal Technique’s lyrics on the issue:

……but you know what the **censored** I think is just pathetic and gay/
when niggaz speculate what the **censored** ‘Pac would say/
you don’t know shit, about a dead mans perspective…..

Really thought, If Biko were to be rise up, and read this post, would he be happy? sad? enraged? I guess you’d have to ask the above mentioned columnists about that.



2 thoughts on “What would Biko do?

  1. I also don't know what Biko would make of our current circumstances, but I know what to make of it. Our next Moses will have to break the chains of victimhood that bind black people and democratise the capital establishment.

  2. Biko, like many martyrs, is misunderstood by many who purport to be custodians of his Black Conciousness legacy. Much of what has been written/said about him has been narrow and self-serving – with nothing to do with the man or the pholisophy he adapted for South African conditions.Biko has been turned into fashion symbol by our itellectuals/public commentators and designers in order to draw attention to themseleves.Biko needs to be freed from these vultures so that his life and teachings can serve as a guide for all of su.

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