Steve Biko Quotes

“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.

“We do not want to be reminded that it is we, the indigenous people, who are poor and exploited in the land of our birth. These are concepts which the Black Consciousness approach wishes to eradicate from the black man’s mind before our society is driven to chaos by irresponsible people from Coca-Cola and hamburger cultural backgrounds.” The Quest for a True Humanity, I Write What I Like, 1978.

“Black man, you are on your own.” Slogan coined by Steve Biko for the South African Student’s Organisation, SASO.

“The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.” Speech in Cape Town, 1971.

“It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth.” We Blacks, I Write What I Like, 1978.

“Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being.” The Definition of Black Consciousness, I Write What I Like, 1978.

“I’ve devoted my life to see equality for blacks, and at the same time, I’ve denied the needs of my family. Please understand that I take these actions, not out of selfishness or arrogance, but to preserve a South Africa worth living in for blacks and whites.”  Part of a letter he left for his family before his death.

“Even today, we are still accused of racism. This is a mistake. We know that all interracial groups in South Africa are relationships in which whites are superior, blacks inferior. So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior.”  On Black Consciousness.

“His heart yearns for the comfort of white society and makes him blame himself for not having been educated enough to warrant such luxury. Celebrated achievement by whites in the field of science which he understands hazily serve to make him rather convinced of the futility of resistance and to throw away any hopes that change may ever come. All in all the black man has become a shell, a shadow of a man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity.”  We Blacks, I Write What I Like, 1978