Friday, September 13, 2013

remembering Steve Biko

This is a revised repost from the blog but on this day, 36 years after Steve was murdered, I thought it timely to update and  post again.

One of the most influencial people in my life was a man called Steve Biko. I found this book when I was young and it affected me greatly. Then along came the tour and I carried a handmade sign saying, 'Remember Steve Biko' throughout all the protest marches.

This is a quote from a paragragh of an article Steve Biko wrote in 1970

"Does this mean I am against intergration? If by integration you understand a breakthrough into white society by blacks, an assimilation and acceptance of blacks into an already established set of norms and code of behaviour set up and maintained by whites, then YES I am against it. I am against the superior-inferior white-black stratification that makes the white a perpetual teacher and the black a perpetual pupil (and a poor one at that). I am against the intellectual arrogance of white people that makes them believe that white leadership is a sine qua non in this country and that whites are the divinely appointed pace-setters in progress. I am against the fact that a settler minority should impose an entire system of values on an indigenous people".

That was written in a different time, place and context I agree, but once you get over the fact that we are not black south africans, and allow your mind to slide over the black/white terminology, the message still resonates.

We must do things our way.

What does that mean for Māori? Many still have an inferiority complex. Many still believe that the consumerist, western model is our model. Many think they are right and we are wrong. Colonisation is insidious, it is designed to make people change their values, it erodes a peoples confidence in themselves so that they believe the lies that they cannot do it, or that they don't have the skills or that the pursuit of money is the be all and end all. It's all rubbish.

As more and more people suffer under this government and their exploitative philosophy, more and more people are looking for values and truth that can provide a base to move into the future. We must walk backwards to the future. We must listen to the lessons from our past because that is where the answers for the future lie. The time to reconnect to this land and the heritage we all have is now because that is the best, and imo only, way to safeguard our future, and the future for our children. How do we do it? One step at a time, one sentence at a time, one feeling at a time. Each step is worthwhile and each step is essential - take your step.

Perhaps another quote from Steve Biko

"The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves."

Letter to SRC Presidents, I Write What I Like, 1978.

Steve Biko died on the floor of a empty Pretoria Central Prison cell on 12 September 1977, aged 30.

1 comment:

Ridwan said...

Excellent post. Sadly here in Biko's land of birth and place of struggle he is being commodified to fit the very liberal moment he so despised.

Biko lives nonetheless and your post is inspiring.