Professor Barney Nyameko Pityana, who will deliver the Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at LSE on Tuesday 9 October, was one of the founder members of the Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa. You can book tickets for this event from 10pm on Wednesday 3 October by clicking on this link.
Bantu Stephen Biko was one of the giants of the fight against apartheid in South Africa. At a time when activists from the African National Congress, Pan-African Congress and South African Communist Party were either in jail or in exile, he was an original voice, instrumental in reinvigorating the opposition to the apartheid government in South Africa.
Biko’s political activism blossomed at the University of Natal where he enrolled to study medicine. Disillusioned by the second-class role of black students in the liberal student organisation, National Union of South African Students (NUSAS), he organised the black students to walk out and form their own organisation, the South African Students Organisation(SASO) in 1968.
SASO’s philosophy was centred on Black Consciousness which the former medical student defined as the “cultural and political revival of an oppressed people”. Within a few years, the Black Consciousness Movement had become a force to be reckoned with throughout the country.
It was no surprise when the government banned Steve Biko in 1973 from teaching or making speeches and confined him to his home town of King William’s Town. Despite this, he continued his work with the Black Consciousness Movement organising education programmes and health clinics for his local community. He fearlessly followed his ideals and carried on with his work until his death in detention on 12 September 1977.
Thirty-five years may have passed since this great man passed away, but memories of him still linger. On Tuesday 9 October, Professor Barney Nyameko Pityana, a comrade of Biko and a fellow founder member of SASO, will deliver a lecture in memory of Steve Biko entitled, Black Consciousness, Black Theology, Student Activism and the Shaping of the New South Africa. The event is free, but you must apply for a ticket to attend.