Steve Biko

By Zach Ritenour

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Biko's Life

Steve Bantu Biko was born on December 18, 1946, in King Williams Town, South Africa. He was very studious at a young age and did well in school. However, after his completion of their equivalent of 10th grade, he was arrested. Steve was very politically active for such a young age, and his arrest was for his involvement with Poqo, an armed group that was a part of the PAC. He served 2 years in prison. Biko went on to graduate from St. Francis College in 1966, and enrolled in the University of Natal medical school. He eventually dropped out, because he didn't have enough time to balance this with his political activism. In 1970, he married Ntsipki Mashalaba and had 2 children with her. He also had a total of 3 other children with 2 other women. Steven Biko died on September 12, 1977, after more than 20 days of brutal imprisonment and torture.
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Involvement in Anti-Apartheid Movement

While enrolled at St. Francis College, Biko became active in the National Union of South African Students. He vouched for greater black involvement in the organization, since the black students were greatly outnumbered by the whites. Steve officially founded the South African Students Organization, or SASO, in December of 1968. He encouraged young blacks to be proud of their race, and wanted to increase their enrollment in colleges. Soon after, he became involved in the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM). As the organization grew, it gathered the attention of the state. It became a well known public presence. in March of 1973, Biko and 3 other activists from the BCM were banned, meaning they could not make public appearances or participate in any activism. Biko continued his work in the dark, not speaking in public again until the SASO/BPC trial in 1976. At this trial, 13 activists were accused of terrorism and other related crimes. Biko delivered what became a very famous testimony, which many believe greatly reduced the harshness of their sentence. They were sentenced to 5-6 years in prison at Robben Island. In 1977, Steve Biko was tortured by police and kept naked and manacled for 20 days, before being beaten and succumbing to his wounds on September 12 of that year. This caused an uproar in South Africa, leading to many protests. Biko's legacy inspired many others in the fight against apartheid, and he has since become a legend of the anti-apartheid movement.
Peter Gabriel - Biko (HQ)


"Steve Biko Biography." A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

"Stephen Bantu Biko." South African History Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.