In 12 September each and every year, South African and even international community celebrate the live of the South African Black Consciousness activists Steve Bantu Biko. In Motherwell local library, situated in nu9 on 12 of September 2014 Black Consciousness and other scholars talked about the legacy of Steve Biko. In their talks it seemed that, they use the concept of Black Consciousness as to uplift their political parties, as the event had members from Azapo, Pan Africanist Congress of Azania, some from African National Congress.
First of all people tend to not understand what Black Consciousness mean, in this ceremony some scholars were saying the ideology was about unit in South African, that people during the apartheid era, and they say it was not a movement for black people only, but for all races that were against the apartheid system. By this, in the memorial lecture by Embo Movement, there were people there who were wearing ANC t-shirts in the Black Consciousness event, and after the event they were singing songs about ANC heroes. Some of the PAC members responded by singing their songs which were respecting their founder Robert Sobukwe.
The memorial lecture was supposed to be for the Black Consciousness activist, which is Steve Biko but it ended as like a tool for members of political parties to campaign and show off their conflicts between one another.
In order to understand the meaning of the ideology, as to compare to what scholars said in the Biko memorial lecture, one can look at the definition of Black Consciousness by Ranwedzi Nengwekhulu. Negwekhulu define the ideology as that it was meant for Black people to be aware of the significance and importance of their own value systems, i.e. their socio-economic, political and cultural values. For this appreciation of their value systems was the need to reject those foreign values, foreign value systems which were forced down Black people’s throats as part of the oppressor’s logic of maintaining and perpetrating its brutal system of exploitation and emasculation.
In this lecture people were having a debate on whether Biko was an ANC member, PAC, or Azapo member, in this manner members were trying to find out which party might be the custodian of Biko and Black Consciousness teachings. Azapo claimed Black Consciousness ideology as theirs, as a lot of Black Consciousness activist who were the friends of Steve Biko joined forces at Azapo.
Looking at South Africa National, the event of Biko memorial lecture was being delivered United Nations member Navi Pillay. It is in this manner that the concept of Black Consciousness has been misinterpreted by many intellectuals, Black Consciousness activists have been asking about such, as they say the government should consider other Black Consciousness activist to deliver talks about Blacks Consciousness and activists like Biko. The words by Biko that said “Black Man you are on your own” are being not considered in these such instance of making a United Nations member to talk about Bantu Biko. Steve Biko’s wife Mrs Nontsikelelo Biko had outlined in an interview by SABC that Steve Biko was a simple man who like to be around Black normal people, but not popular politicians.
Politicians tend to forget or not consider the fact that, the aim of the Black Consciousness in South Africa was not connect black people from different political parties to comes together and solve their problems in their own methods. Now politicians are misinterpreting the entire point or aim of black consciousness.
by Siyabonga Mtati