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I don’t think Biko was wrong
Biko Perspectives
Hlamulo “Salungano” Khorommbi
3 min read

I don't think Biko was wrong.

Many people fail to understand where Biko was going when he unified black; some tend to bash him, saying that when he wrote his book 'I Write What I Like,' he was drunk. However, that's something we can't prove, but rather assume. One of my close comrades once said, 'There's nothing spectacular about Biko; he was just a student like us. On top of that, he was a drunkard.' But does that give us the passport to say he was wrong because we don't understand where he was coming from and where he was going with his analysis? No, we're supposed to zoom in and try to figure out where he was trying to go. After taking my time to zoom in on the analysis of Biko, I came to the conclusion that he was not wrong.

Steve Biko's concept of Black Consciousness transcends racial categories and includes people of various racial backgrounds oppressed by the apartheid system. He argued that the term 'black' should be used as a unifying political identity for all those facing racial discrimination in South Africa, regardless of specific racial labels.

Biko believed that Indians and Coloured people, also marginalized under apartheid, should recognize their shared struggles with black Africans. By emphasizing a collective identity as 'black,' he sought to unite these groups against the common enemy of racial injustice and oppression. Biko's goal was to foster solidarity and cooperation among all those affected by apartheid policies, promoting a broader sense of unity in the fight against racial discrimination.

Critics have argued that Steve Biko's emphasis on a broad, unified black identity overlooked the specific and varied experiences of different racial groups under apartheid. Some contend that Indians and Coloured individuals faced distinct challenges, perhaps at a different degree of oppression compared to black Africans, which I don't think it did.

While Biko aimed for solidarity, acknowledging the diversity of experiences and levels of oppression is a valid point. Critics argue that a more nuanced approach that recognizes unique struggles within the broader fight against apartheid could have been beneficial. Biko's perspective, however, was grounded in the urgency of creating a united front against the oppressive system, and his focus on a common identity aimed at strengthening the collective resistance against apartheid. That's where Fanon comes in.

Most importantly, let's look at the Unity in Liberation concept Fanon advocated for: a united effort in the struggle for liberation. He emphasized the interconnectedness of various anti-colonial movements and the importance of solidarity among oppressed peoples. Biko's promotion of Black Consciousness, irrespective of specific racial labels, echoes this idea of collective liberation.

Fanon's ideas complement Biko's vision by providing a theoretical foundation for the solidarity among oppressed groups. Both thinkers emphasize the shared struggle against dehumanization and the importance of collective identity."


Hlamulo “Salungano” Khorommbi
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@hlamulokhorommbi
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