Steve Biko Timeline

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18 December

Bantu Steve Biko is born in Tylden. He is brought up in Ginsberg, King Williams Town and he attends the Charles Morgan Primary School and Forbes Grant secondary school.


Age 15

He joins his elder brother Khaya at Lovedale and is expelled because of his brother’s political activities. He moves on to attend St. Francis College in Marianhill in what was Natal.


Age 19

Attends the University of Natal (Non-European section) at Wentworth as a medical student.


Age 22

Forms the South Africa Student’s Organisation (SASO) and is elected as its first president. Also forms the Black People’s Convention (BPC).


Age 25

Helps form and works for Black Community Programmes (BCP) and the university discontinues his medical studies.


Age 26

Banned and restricted to King William’s Town for five years. Not allowed to work for any political organizations, not allowed to be published or quoted.


Age 27

Arrested and discharged a number of times. On occasions charged and acquitted.


Age 28

Founds Zimele Trust Fund and Ginsberg Educational Trust. Is detained and held for 137 days without charge or trial.


Age 29

Elected as Honorary President of BPC. Subpoenaed to give testimony in the SASO-BPC trial. Detained in solitary confinement for 101 days.


Age 30

Arrested in March, detained and then released. Arrested again in July, charged, acquitted. Arrested again on the 18 August.


18 August

At Walmer Police Station Biko is kept naked and manacled for 20 days before being transferred to the notorious Sanlam Building in Port Elizabeth.


06 September

Biko sustains a massive brain haemorrhage resulting from brain injury. He was beaten up by no less than five policemen. After suffering a brain injury, he was still kept in standing position.


07 September

Police call in Dr Lang. Dr Lang finds “nothing wrong” with Biko, despite his badly swollen face, hands and feet. Instead, Dr Lang alleges that Biko is “shamming”. Dr Tucker is called for his opinion. He suggests Biko be taken to hospital.


10 September 

Biko’s condition has deteriorated alarmingly. Dr Lang recommends he be driven 700 kilometers tot the prison hospital in Pretoria.


11 September

Biko is put in the back of a Land Rover naked and menacled. He is driven for more than twelve hours from Port Elizabeth to Pretoria.


12 September

Steve Biko died, naked on a mat on a stone floor in a prison cell. The minister of justice and police, Jimmy Kruger, claimed Biko had died of a hunger strike. Kruger proclaimed to laughter: “I am not saddened by Biko’s death and I am not mad. His death leaves me cold”.


25 September

Funeral was held at the Victoria Stadium in King William’s Town. Buried at the Garden of Remembrance.


14 November – 02 December

Inquest into his death

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