BIKO by Donald Woods - Rebecca Fjelland Davis
Articulate and charismatic, Steve Biko was one of the movement's foremost he did not put boundaries on his romantic and sexual relationships with women. He also famously befriended Donald Woods, the white East London Daily. South African newspaper editor and anti-apartheid activist Donald Woods was famous for championing for the truth about the death of Steve. Steve Biko died in police custody on September 12, , six days after being In response to questions, Kruger said Biko's death “leaves me cold. the relationship between journalist and newspaper editor Donald Woods.
Disguised as an Anglican priest, Father "David C. However, following days of steady rain, the river had flooded, leaving him to resort to crossing at the Tele Bridge border crossing in a Lesotho Postal Service truck driven by an unsuspecting Lesothan man, who was merely giving the "priest" a ride.
He made it undetected by South African customs and border officials to Lesothowhere, prompted by a prearranged telephone call, his family joined him shortly afterwards. Once they arrived in Lesotho, Bruce Haighan Australian diplomat of the embassy, drove him to Maseru. With the help of the British High Commission in Maseru and from the Government of Lesothothey flew under United Nations passports and with one Lesotho Government official over South African airspace, via Botswana to London where they were granted political asylum.
He toured the United States campaigning for sanctions against apartheid. The trip included a three-hour session, arranged by President Jimmy Carterto address officials in the U. Woods also spoke at a session of the United Nations Security Council in On 11 FebruaryNelson Mandela was released from prison after serving twenty-seven years in prison, 17 of those years on Robben Island.
That Easter, Mandela came to London to attend a concert at Wembley Stadium to thank the anti-apartheid Movement and the British people for their years of campaigning against apartheid. Woods gave Mandela a tie in the black, green and gold colours of the African National Congress to celebrate the event, which Mandela wore at the concert the next day.
Biko by Donald Woods
His son Dillon was one of the organizers of the fundraising appeal in the United Kingdom. A cheering crowd took him to the head of the queue, giving him the place of honour so that he could be one of the first to vote in the new South Africa.
Following the election, Woods worked for the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism in Johannesburg.
Donald and Wendy Woods became very much involved in the project, working closely with the actors and crew. The film was shot largely on location in Zimbabwe South Africa still being under the apartheid regime at the time. It was released in to critical acclaim, and won a number of awards. Woods was portrayed by Kevin Klinewho became friends with Woods and his wife and family during the filming. The friendship continued until Woods' death in Wendy Woods was played by Penelope Wilton.
Biko was played by Denzel Washingtonwho was Oscar-nominated for the role. It closes with a list of deaths of black activists in police custody in South Africa, with the official explanations of cause of death.
Nine men were tried and convicted of encouraging racial hostility. Police harassment, detentions, and bannings spiked again after the student uprisings and continued into This took a toll on the lives of many activists.
Detentions put a psychological strain on individuals and their families, and increasingly brutal torture inflicted physical damage. Four Black Consciousness activists died between and as a result of the actions of South African security forces: Mthuli ka Shezi was pushed onto a train track inTiro was letter-bombed in Botswana inMapetla Mohapi SASO organizer was killed in the Kei Road police station inand Biko died at the hands of the security police in Steve Biko Bantu Stephen Biko, the most prominent figure of the Black Consciousness movement, was not the only student, thinker, writer, and community project director in the movement, but he did play a significant role in forming SASO, spreading the Black Consciousness philosophy, and running and advising the BPC, among other informal roles.
His charismatic personality drew people to him. His death at the hands of the South African security police thus had significant repercussions for the Black Consciousness movement and made him a famous martyr.
This kind of community involvement and devotion influenced each of her children in their chosen professions later in life. The Ginsberg community was a small but racially and economically diverse and vibrant community in the s and s. There were also a number of sports clubs.
Although the community had politically involved people, Biko himself was not interested in politics as a young boy. His siblings, friends, and classmates remember him as being a highly capable student but one who was very playful and sociable. His academic achievements won him support from his community, which organized a bursary for him to join his older brother at the Lovedale Institution to finish high school when he was sixteen years old.
This experience politicized Biko. His schooling had also been interrupted, leaving him at home to think while his peers busied themselves with school work. Inhe continued his schooling at St. There he further distinguished himself as an outstanding student and questioned authorities and their Christian beliefs.
He also held stimulating intellectual debates about African independence with other students. There Steve interacted with black people of various backgrounds and began to play a role in student politics at the university.
It is through these student networks that he began working with other students such as Pityana to start SASO. He traveled around the country with Pityana and others to persuade students at black colleges and universities to join SASO and to explain the Black Consciousness philosophy. His room at the medical school residency served as the SASO office.
BIKO by Donald Woods
Former friends and activists remember Biko as one who enabled others, rather than seeking leadership roles. He also continued to find joy in his associations with people—of all racial backgrounds—mixing intellectual and political conversations with his socializing.
He was known for his demanding work ethic as well as his ability to hold his drink.
During his time in Durban he met and married a nursing student, Nontsikelelo Ntsiki Mashalaba, with whom he had two sons, Nkosinathi b. Biko loved his family and spending time with his children; however, he did not put boundaries on his romantic and sexual relationships with women.
It was also during his time in Durban that Biko met and worked with Ramphele, with whom he had a long-standing affair. He and Ramphele had a daughter, Lerato who lived for two months inand a son, Hlumelo b. Biko had affairs with a number of other women as well. Yet Biko seems to have been unwilling or unable to resolve the controversies and pain he caused through this behavior before his death.
While he worked well with many women as colleagues and fellow activists, he at times struggled to concede that traditional gender roles could change. This led to his employment by Khoapa as a field officer for the BCP, his only official employment ever.
In Durban, he worked on coordinating among various black organizations and on producing the Black Review. Inhis banning sent him back to Ginsberg. This changed his work and the direction of the BCP. He also continued to be involved politically, despite constant police surveillance and attempts to arrest and detain him, and started studying for a law degree by correspondence. Even when he was further restricted by the government from working officially for the BCP inhe continued to advise on the projects and political matters.
The BPC even elected him as an honorary president in to give him authority to cultivate unity among the various black political groups in the country at the time. Working against the apartheid security forces was a challenge, especially when Biko felt isolated and watched his fellow activists and friends suffer.
But Biko also found ways to circumvent police surveillance and to challenge their authority.
He was detained, arrested, and accused several times though never convicted. He also famously befriended Donald Woods, the white East London Daily Dispatch newspaper editor, which gave the movement inroads into the media and other networks.
Biko continued to work on unifying the various black groups even under his banning orders. The last trip he took outside of his restricted banning area led him to Cape Town with fellow activist Peter Jones on August 17,to meet with various people including Black Consciousness activists as well as Neville Alexander of the Unity Movement.
The meetings never materialized. Fearing negative repercussions if they stayed too long, Jones and Biko turned back the next day. They were stopped at a roadblock just outside of Grahamstown. A problem with opening the trunk of the car they had borrowed made the police suspicious.
When the police found out they had detained two leaders of the Black Consciousness movement, they arrested the two and sent them to security police headquarters in Port Elizabeth. Biko and Jones suffered physical torture at the hands of the security police.
On September 6, the police took their physical beatings of Biko too far. Instead of providing medical treatment, the police chained him to a gate in a standing position. They only called in a district surgeon the next day. Despite evidence of brain damage, the police kept Biko naked and chained up in his cell until his conditioned worsened. On September, the police loaded Biko naked into the back of a police van and drove him through the night to Pretoria Central Prison for medical care.
Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement - Oxford Research Encyclopedia of African History
He was pronounced dead there on September 12, At first the government said Biko had died of a hunger strike. However, evidence from a postmortem examination proved that Biko had died of head injuries.
An inquest into the death of Biko was held, but no one was convicted. The TRC denied amnesty to all of the police officers involved in the hearings. This has influenced the way in which he has been celebrated and remembered. Biko is often placed at the center of histories of the Black Consciousness movement.
He was one of the first liberation movement heroes to be memorialized in the post-apartheid era with a statue, his gravesite, and his home being dedicated inthe 20th anniversary of his death.
Yet many have claimed Biko as a progenitor or hero. Community members, people involved in the projects he ran, his friends and colleagues, political parties, and public intellectuals look to Biko. Almost all remember his good characteristics although his peers are more willing to recognize his faults.
- Steve Biko and the Black Consciousness Movement
- Donald Woods
He is particularly seen as someone who sacrificed for the nation when in the post-apartheid period leaders from liberation movements are charged with corruption and self-serving politics. He has also been elevated as a leading intellectual and political activist, someone who spoke out boldly and affirmed black dignity.
For some, he stands as a revolutionary, while others see him as entrenched in community work. However, activists regrouped in various ways to continue their work. I've seen arguments, and I'm sorry to say even made the mistake of starting a few, where white "allies" take offense to being excluded from certain conversations about anti-blackness. There's still a whole shit load of "well, not all white people! I'm only just learning to find the balance between being an ally and not overstepping, and I don't think I'll ever get it completely right.
That does lead to the conflicting thing about this novel: And I commend Woods for writing it and think it's something he absolutely needed to write.
He himself was banned for writing about Stephen Biko and he risked his life writing this and then escaping the country to get this book published, to tell the world who Stephen Biko was and exactly what Apartheid was.
And while he talked about his views and how Biko changed those views, he didn't try to make the book about him. The focus was always on Biko, on his life, on the inquiry into his death, on testimonies from the friend that was arrested with him on what actually happened in that prison. But I think the great injustice here is that the person who SHOULD have written this book was unable to because he was beaten to death in prison.
Steve Biko's family mourns Donald Woods
In the end, it was Woods' white privilege that allowed this book to be published and I would say it's his white privilege that allowed it to be so well-received.
But that's a different review and I would need to watch the movie again to be more thorough in it. The book was good, I'm glad that I read it, but be prepared to be shaken up. An unauthorized secret autopsy revealed brain trauma caused by severe blows to the head was the cause of death. Biko was the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, an organization that promoted liberation and political change through peaceful, non-violent means of resistance.
Physically, he was an imposing figure, very tall, extremely well-built with a noble face. He was not an extrovert—one had the sense of a great capacity for self-containment.
He spoke to gatherings of people and published widely.