“We are looking forward to a non-racial, just and egalitarian society in which colour, creed and race shall form no point of reference.” – Steve Biko
3 minutes to read
It's been 43 years since the tragic death of the Black Consciousness Movement leader, Steve Biko. The month of September has since been marked to celebrate and honour Biko, who died in police custody on 12 September 1977. Today, we remember and honour his remarkable life.
STEVE BIKO LIVES A POEM
In 1978, a few months after Steve Biko’s death, Stevie Wonder called and asked Millard Arnold if he would accept the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured Peoples’ (NAACP) Image Award for Biko posthumously. Arnold was flown out to Los Angeles for the Eleventh Annual NAACP Image Award celebration at which he accepted the Stevie Wonder Perpetual Award in Biko’s honour. This is the poem Arnold wrote and read for the event.
They tell me Steve Biko is dead To persuade me perhaps that his strong but sensitive voice can be stilled by hatred and fear They tell me Steve Biko is dead To show me perhaps that humanity and dignity can be bludgeoned into submission They tell me Steve Biko is dead To convince me perhaps that courage and compassion can be somehow compromised But what they are afraid to tell me is that Biko lives That the spirit, the ideals, the dreams, the glory of Steve Biko lives That it lives in Soweto That it lives in Watts That it lives in Harlem That it lives in the minds of all those oppressed Steve Biko lives because the aspirations of a people cannot be denied Steve Biko lives because violence and repression will not quench the thirst for freedom and decency Steve Biko lives because his special sense of humanity and integrity cannot be forgotten But they, they would have me, they would have you believe that Steve Biko is dead You and I… We know better
Here’s an edit of seminal books which mirror his life (for Steve Biko Month and beyond):