By Rasvanth Chunylall
Today marks what would have been the 70th birthday of Steve Biko, an anti-Apartheid activist, Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) founder and author. Biko died following a brutal interrogation session under police custody. He continues to inspire a number of people and organisations like the Economic Freedom Fighters who have been influenced by his BCM writings. His most notable books include I Write What I Like, Black consciousness in South Africa, The Testimony of Steve Biko and Escribo Lo Que Me Da LA Gana.
Pictured: Google's Steve Biko doodle
In honour of Biko Google has created a Google Doodle on their site’s homepage (pictured) to mark his birthday. #SteveBiko is currently trending on Twitter in the country and members of the public have paid tribute on the platform:
Don't forget #SteveBiko. How they stripped him naked, beat him senseless, threw him, half alive, in the back of a van & drove till he died.
— perfect hlongwane (@perfecthow) December 18, 2016
I don't think one can truly understand the horror of apartheid without reading all the literature on the last days of #SteveBiko life.
— Lindi Tout (@linditout) December 18, 2016
Great to see that #SteveBiko is on Google Doodle today in honour and commemoration of his 70th birthday today pic.twitter.com/4o7GrAvRkz
— SteveBikoFoundation (@BikoFoundation) December 18, 2016
Biko is linked to several prominent anti-Apartheid activists and authors linked to the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province like Jay Naidoo, Fatima Meer and Prithiraj R. Dullay.
From a KZN literary tourism point of view, the province marks several areas pertinent to Biko’s life. He graduated from St. Francis College (now the Mariannhill Secondary Independent School), a Roman Catholic institution in Mariannhill, KwaZulu-Natal. In 1966, he attended the Durban Medical School at the University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal) Non-European section (UNNE) and it was here that he took part in the University student movement. In the early 1970s, he was a central figure in The Durban Moment, which formed an important part of the on-going struggle against Apartheid. Biko’s legacy in KZN includes the renaming of Mansfield road to his name in his honour. There is also a campus at the Durban University of Technology that bears his name.
We encourage you to take the opportunity to visit these areas in order to learn about the places that shaped Biko’s life.