Biko 'would be very disgusted with SA'
IF STEVE Biko was alive today, he would be very disgusted by the high-level of corruption and self-interest that dominates South Africa's political landscape. This is according to Xolela Mangcu, who penned the book, Biko: A Biography.
After much anticipation, the new biography was released countrywide yesterday.
The book looks to shed new light on the Black Consciousness Movement founder, who changed the course of South African history.
It is the first comprehensive account of the inspirational leader who was killed by apartheid police on September 12 1977.
Mangcu grew up in Ginsberg, Biko's home town, near King William's Town, Eastern Cape. He was 11 years old when Biko was killed.
Today, Mangcu is a political commentator with six other books under his belt.
"Biko would have been appalled by the education and health systems in the country," Mangcu says.
He says if Biko was alive today South Africa would be in a better place.
Describing Biko, Mangcu says: "He was a selfless, honest and dedicated leader with a great sense of humour."
But the biography does not spare any punches and details Biko in all his complexities - both negative and positive.
"It is important when writing a biography to show the true individual ... good or bad," he says.
Although the facts of Biko's death are well known, there has not been an in-depth book based on the political icon's life.
"He was a ladies man and was notorious for it. But without justifying his behaviour, Biko was a prophet, not a saint."
While the author says he cannot claim to know Biko personally, his book consists of years of research and interviews.
The book includes chapters on Biko's childhood and student years, the South African Students Organisation and the Black Consciousness Movement, the students uprising of June 1976, his death and the effect this had on SA.
"He was the most important leader between 1968 and 1977. But it is like he has been erased from history."