Steve Biko

Steve Biko was born in South Africa on December 18th, 1946 and is one of five siblings. His life growing up was relatively normal, other than the fact that his father passed away when he was only four years old, so his mother raised him and his four siblings. He went to elementary school and thrived, despite the fact that his classmates claimed that they never saw him read or do his homework, he was the smartest student in all of his classes.

He excelled in school and later on went to school at Lovedale College with his brother, Khaya. Khaya was involved in a group called the Pan Africanist Congress, PAC, political party that was anti apartheid. Because of this, he was put into jail for 2 years. Steve was released and he returned to school. When Steve got back to school, political tensions were high & students went on strikes. He was interrogated by the police, and even though Steve wasn’t a part of PAC, he was expelled. This was the start of his resentment towards white authority, which also started his political career. Once Khaya was released from jail, he was banned from schools, but he got a job at a law firm as a clerk. He wanted his brother, Steve, to continue to go to school, so he wrote some letters to colleges and Steve got accepted into St. Francis College.

“Steve was expelled for absolutely no reason at all. But in retrospect I welcome the South African government’s gesture of exposing a really good politician. I had unsuccessfully tried to get Steve interested in politics. The police were able to do in one day what had eluded me for years. This time the great giant was awakened.” Khaya Biko

Because of Khaya’s recommendations, Steve attended Durban Medical School. Within his first year, he became apart of the National Union of South African Students. Even still, Steve lived in segregated dormitories. Two years later, he co-founded the South African Students’ Organization. He was then expelled for his political activism, and banned from public speaking.

Biko was able to take his past experiences and turn them into something good, by writing a book. He wrote about different stories and specific events that happened to him or people he knew, and he was able to freely write on his beliefs and thoughts towards these issues. His book, I Write What I Like, showcased all of this.

Below is the Cry Freedom Speech, that was in the movie that showcased Steve’s passion for equality and respect.

Featured Image: Steve Biko,                                                                            PHOTOGRAPHER: Unknown                                                                                                        SOURCE:



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