Wednesday, November 16, 2005

SASO and The Black Consciousness Movement

1968 marked the year that Stephen Biko would break off from the NUSAS (National Union of South African Students) to form SASO (South African Students’ Organization). At the age of 22 Stephen Biko seemed to be ordained by God to undertake the task of liberation for South Africa against Apartheid. Perhaps his inspiration and drive came from the likes of Nelson Mandela or Robert Sobukwe who were both already jailed for their participation in the fight for Freedom. Nevertheless, Steve Biko, the President of SASO, launched a polemical campaign to expose the injustices against Blacks in South Africa. He started a monthly newsletter with the organization and wrote a column titled, I Write What I Like. He operated under the nom de guerre, “Frank Talk.”
The writings of Frank Talk were published in the SASO newsletter between 1969-1972. This would ignite the beginning of the Black Consciousness movement in South Africa. Stephen was later silenced in 1973 and forbidden to write or speak in an opened forum. However, the movement had already gained momentum among the people in the townships and squatter camps (especially the students). The Black Conscious movement was not only designed to expose the injustices of Apartheid, but to also kindle and make conscious a beaten and troubled people under an evil and oppressive regime. Stephen Biko would become its most electrifying and devoted soldier.

"The philosophy of Black Consciousness therefore expresses group pride and the determination of the black to rise and attain the envisaged self. Freedom is the abliltiy to define oneself with one's possibilities held back not by the powre of other people over one but only by one's relationship to God and to natural surroundings." (Stephen Biko, I Write What I Like)


Sumeeta said...

Thanks for the info about Biko. I didn't know all of that. I took a course in African American studies a few years ago and was surprised to find how many people differed in how the African American civil rights movement should go.

Keep posting this info!

Stephen A. Bess said...

Hello Sumeeta-
How are you? Thank you for stopping in. I've been fascinated with the work of Stephen Biko since college. He was a great man alongside others who fought for freedom like Mandela, Sobukwe, Gandhi and Ahmed Mohamed Kathrada. I am going to see Kathrada this Sunday at American University. He is an Indian from South Africa who was jailed for his part in the struggle. This will be a treat for me because I've never heard of him.

Anonymous said...

Stephen Bess, thank you for conscientizing us :)
"Conscientization is a process whereby individuals or groups living within a given social and political setting are made aware of their situation. The operative attitude here is not so much awareness of the physical sense of their situation, but much more their ability to assess and improve their own influence over themselves and their environment...thus then conscientization implies a desire to engage people in an emancipatory process, in an attempt to free them from a situation of bondage" Stephen Bantu Biko.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Thank you Tryphina-
I am conscientizing myself in the process. I always learn something new when I read the book, I Write What I Like. It reminds me of my humanity and my responsibilities as a thinking man.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Thank you Groove for stopping. Please share any additional information with this blog if you should find any. Peace~

Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful said...

"The philosophy of Black Consciousness therefore expresses group pride and the determination of the black to rise and attain the envisaged self."

*raises hand*

i have a question

Those of us that are lacking the determination are lacking consciousness?

Stephen A. Bess said...

Great question. :)
I feel that it is important for Black people and anyone living around Black people to be conscious. There are many individuals who lack determination simply because they lack the knowledge. I think that we are doing ourselves a disservice in not knowing our history on this planet. How can anyone understand their own plight or the plight of a people if they do not arm themselves with knowledge about themselves and the laws that govern them. It is important for the youth in this country to become politically conscious and historically conscious. I say the young people because they are our only hope for the future.

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