Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Steve Biko in five quotes

Steve Bantu Biko was born on December 12 1946. He was an anti-apartheid activist during the 1960s and 1970s and founder of the Black Conscious Movement that empowered and mobilised the South Africa's black population to fight against minority rule. 

Since his death in police custody on September 12 1977, people called Biko a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement. His writings, activism and ideologies continue to influence South African politics and academics today.

In this rare television interview which was broadcast on German television, Biko talks about the ideologies of the Black Consciousness Movement:

His influence also resonates in music, art, television, film and poetry of which the most popular being the 1987 biographical drama Cry Freedom, directed by Richard Attenborough and starring Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline. A supply ship within the Star Trek canon called the USS Biko, which is referenced in the sixth season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, was also named after him, such is the reach of Biko's influence.

We take a look at five of Biko's most timeless and prominent quotes:

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

Fears of violence persist a year after the murder of...

The court battle to stop coal mining in rural KwaZulu-Natal has heightened the sense of danger among environmental activists

Data shows EFF has lower negative sentiment online among voters...

The EFF has a stronger online presence than the ANC and Democratic Alliance

More top stories

Libyan town clings to memory of Gaddafi, 10 years on

Rebels killed Muammar Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte on 20 October 2011, months into the Nato-backed rebellion that ended his four-decade rule

Fishing subsidies in the W. Cape: ‘Illegal fishing is our...

Fishers claim they are forced into illegal trawling because subsidies only benefit big vessels

Kenya’s beach boys fall into sex tourism, trafficking

In the face of their families’ poverty, young men, persuaded by the prospect of wealth or education, travel to Europe with their older female sponsors only to be trafficked for sex

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…