Fri Oct 21 18:51:11 SAST 2016

Biko's enlightening ideas will live on

By unknown | Sep 12, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Millard W Arnold made this speech at the re-launch of his book, No Fears Expressed, published by the Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust recently.

Millard W Arnold made this speech at the re-launch of his book, No Fears Expressed, published by the Mutloatse Arts Heritage Trust recently.

"Is it truly possible to believe that for 30 years we have been deprived of his greatness? Deprived of his sense of purpose and direction? Deprived of the promises yet to be fulfilled?

"Three decades, and a multitude of changes. A remarkable passage of time and space that has given us a rainbow nation. Could any of this have happened without him?

"How do you appreciate, understand and explain Steve Bantu Biko? Visionary? intellectual? revolutionary? scholar? activist? philosopher? teacher? martyr?

"These are different times. Different issues, different problems. More complex, perhaps even more frightening, for, despite all that has been achieved since 1994, a cloak of anxiety and disquiet shrouds the nation. I often wonder how relevant Biko would be today? And as I wonder, I appreciate all the more what a remarkable leader and thinker he was.

"His genius was unique. His ability lay in the simplicity in which he was able to reduce complex issues to understandable terms: 'In South Africa now, it is expensive to be poor,' he once wrote.

"Or: 'The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.'

"Biko understood where he was and where he wanted to go and what was necessary to get there. He did what needed to be done. His mantra was simple: Black Consciousness. An uncomplicated message easily and readily understood: Black people, to thine own self be true.

"In his time, he was the decisive factor in advancing new ideas, forging new views and promoting new concepts.

"Firm in his beliefs and convinced of his purpose, for Biko, nothing was impossible. And if nothing is impossible, then there are no limits to what can be achieved. And in that simple thought lay Biko's greatness.

"We have been left a legacy, a richness, a tapestry of exquisite thoughts, provocative words and enlightening ideas. We trail in the shadow of his accomplishments and marvel at what he attained. Blessed is he who thinks, or she who believes for they are the light that show us the way.

"His integrity and character were the absolute virtues that gave credibility to all that he said. As a leader, his morality, wisdom and intelligence helped define the nature of the struggle he faced and challenged. It was a struggle that would cost him his life.

"In the greater scheme of things, perhaps death was necessary. It provided South Africans with a martyr whose charismatic voice was no more, but whose pragmatic philosophy became the ideology that galvanised the townships and locations throughout the country. His bright path now grows dimmer and in the fullness of time we know better the deepness of our loss. His work is done, but not forgotten and will last forever.

"What has been firmly established cannot be uprooted. What is indelibly etched in the memory will be honoured for generations. Because an inexplicable magic radiates from his thoughts, his words, his deeds and that, 30 years on, is the legacy of Steve Bantu Biko."


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