Struggle History – A Tribute to Steve Biko

Stephen Bantu Biko was born on 18 December 1946 and murdered by the Apartheid Security police on 12 September 1977.

In the late sixties Steve Biko established a new all-black and pro-black organisation namely the South African Students Organisation (SASO). He was elected as its first President in July 1969. One year later he was elected as the Public Secretary of SASO.

In 1976 he was formally banned and confined to the Magisterial District of King williams town – his birthcplace. In the wake of the Urban revolt of 1976 and with the prospects of the National Revolution becoming increasingly real, the Security Police detained Biko.

He was too much of an outspoken leader for the Apartheid Government’s liking. On the 18th of August 1977 he was hence detained by the Eastern Cape Security Branch and held at the cells of Walmer Police Station. From here he was taken for long and terrible interrogations at the Branch’s Head quarters at the Sanlam Building in Strand Street. On 7 September 1977 Biko began acting strangly after sustaining head injuries because of the interrogations.

By 11 September Biko slipped into a continual semi-conscious state and the Police Doctor recommended a transfer to a hospital. Biko was however transported to Pretoria – 1 200 km away.

On 12 September – naked, bruised and alone and lying on the floor of the Pretoria Central Prison, Biko died from brain damage.

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