Friday, November 18, 2005

In Memory of Ntate Stephen Biko

Stephen Biko managed to accomplish a great deal while operating as president of South African Students Organization (SASO) since 1968. Biko, operating under the pseudonym of "Frank Talk" spoke of the injustices of the White minority and importance of Black solidarity. Biko felt that solidarity among Black South Africans would instill pride and revive the cultural vitality that Apartheid and racism had almost completely diminished. The South African government soon detected the effectiveness of Biko's political activities and banned Stephen Biko from publishing or speaking publicly. Biko soon took his message underground and continued his campaign against the racist Apartheid system. He preached that Black South Africans needed to come together to "break the chains of oppression." Biko was often arrested and harassed by South African Police who were monitoring his activities.
Stephen Biko was seized and detained under the Terrorism Act on August 18, 1977. The Terrorism Act was implemented in 1967. This Act "allowed for indefinite detention without trial and established Bureau of State Security (BOSS), which was responsible for the internal security of South Africa." This act and various other laws managed to silence and incarcerate over 40,000 Blacks in South Africa since 1950. Biko was held in prison for twenty four days where he was interrogated, beaten, and starved. He was literally tortured to death. Prison doctors finally allowed him be transported to a hospital in Pretoria for medical treatment after he was found unconscious, bound and naked. Stephen Biko died on the way to hospital in Pretoria that was some 740 miles away. The official cause of death was due to a brain lesion caused by blunt force trauma to the head. The officers at the prison were never punished for this crime.
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