What Biko Means to Me, Today

By: Nompumelelo Zinhle Manzini

Steve Biko often said: “black is beautiful” and in our day I still believe that black is indeed beautiful. Not only is black is the colour of coal in which diamonds where formed but, black is the colour of power and class. The colour of the original ink!
Throughout the 1970s Biko urged for man to be happy with whom they are and to further look at ourselves as human beings rather than objects of the earth. For me his philosophy is not an object of the past but rather an object of the day. Even though the geographic context may differ, the contextual concept is still relevant to our contemporary society that we reside in today. People often claim that Steve Biko’s philosophy is no longer for our times, however I greatly beg to differ. As Black people or “Africans” (to those who prefer to sound politically correct) we still feel inferior in our own skins. We tend to try so hard to look “western” with all the make-up, weaves, eyelashes and not forgetting the artificial nails. Even though these may help enhance ones beauty, I greatly feel that we do not need all these artificial things to make us feel beautiful in their own skin. In order for you to be beautiful, you need to first accept yourself in your own skin and be happy with who you are. Furthermore as Steve Biko, Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley said, we need to be conscious of who we are, and be aware of our surroundings, liberate one’s mind and always empower oneself in order to empower those around you as well!

This is the message that needs to be sent to our fellow brothers and sisters that we share this beautiful country with. Not only that but we also need to start living “self-consciousness” instead of merely acknowledging the great things that were done and said by people like Steve Biko. When I look at the streets today I see black people who argue that racism still exists, yet they are the first to cast stones to the Ethiopians and Somalians that rent out our garages in order to open small stores. These people may be of a different nationality, however they are still a part of you as much as you are a part of them. We are all Africans and need to stop discriminating against one another. The aforementioned serves as another model why Biko is still relevant to today’s society.

Biko’s philosophy is one that I feel that is never-ending and remains with us. Thus in order to honour him on his birthday, let us revisit what he left for us. Let us read all his writings such as I Write What I Like. Not only that but we should also start thinking in a more liberated manner and stop repressing other people!

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