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Biko’s death threatened to unleash a new wave of protests, and drew the attention of the world to the situation in South Africa.
Biko’s funeral on 25 September was attended by some 15000 people, including the American ambassador and 11 other diplomats.
Black Consciousness paid critical attention to the ideology of apartheid and how it operated in society reinforcing racist acts while simultaneously minimising resistance from Black people by promoting alienation from self, a loss of identity and agency.
Black Consciousness unequivocally emphasized the need for psychological liberation.
works from the false premise that, because it is difficult to bring people from different races together in this country, achievement of this is in itself a step towards the total liberation of the blacks.
Nothing could be more misleading.[vi] With racism being about subjugation, and inherent in that the power to subjugate, integration – particularly false integration which is “a breakthrough into white society by blacks, an assimilation and acceptance of blacks into an already established set of norms and code of behavior set up and maintained by white people”[vii] would not solve the situation of black people nor would it allow them to be fully who they are.
Black Consciousness is at the same time a positive assertion of our being what we want to be…
Unlike the race based construction of identity that typified apartheid, Black Consciousness defined Black on the basis of political and socio-economic factors.
The Soweto riots were followed by continuous unrest: students and workers in the townships of every province boycotted schools, universities and workplaces, and the regime was hard put to restore the Apartheid order.
By mid-1977, this had by and large been achieved, but elements of resistance and defiance continued to emerge.
On 12 September 1977 the Black Consciousness leader Steve Biko died while in the custody of security police.
The period leading up to his death, beginning with the June 1976 unrest, had seen some of the most turbulent events in South African history, the first signs that the Apartheid regime would not be able to maintain its oppressive rule without massive resistance.