Community leaders, activists, poets, writers will pay homage to the life of Steve Biko

Victor Mecoamere

Victor Mecoamere

Staging the forthcoming Steve Biko 30/30 commemorative events is a suitable prototype for what to do to give fitting honour to deserving heroes.

This is because several, related commemorative events are spread out and feature a wide spectrum of organisers, sponsors and partners.

It is carried out as a series of multimedia performances, exhibitions, seminars and workshops.

These are designed to make people sit back and look at the hero being honoured with a difference.

It is staged by the Steve Biko 30th Anniversary Reference Committee, comprising artists, community development activists and businessmen such as Letepe Maisela, Duma Ndlovu, Sandile Ngidi, Khehla Mthembu, Bokwe Mafuna, Barney Mokgatle, Lybon Mabasa, Sipho Mabuse, Jabu Mabuza, Maishe Maponya, Don Mattera, Palesa Rachidi, Sello Rasethaba and Raks Seakhoa.

Committee spokesmen Seakhoa and Maponya said the commemorations would include the re-enactment of Biko's arrest, torture and ultimate death; a commemorative jazz show forming a part of the yearly Joy of Jazz series; an operatic tribute to be known as Opera Biko; and a creative literary public participation project to be known as "The People Shall Speak".

"The main objective is to ensure that the legacy of this great mind and son of the soil lives," Seakhoa and Maponya said. "And, to do this, we have earmarked these different projects."

The re-enactment, tagged The Cell Road Map & Other Activities , is to be staged between August 19 and September 12; the Joy of Jazz-linked commemorative jazz showcase is to be staged between August 23 and 24; and Opera Biko and "The People Shall Speak" will run between October 17 and 20.

The spokesmen said music promoter Peter Tladi's T-Musicman has agreed to dedicate one of the Joy of Jazz festival shows to the memory of Steve Biko.

That special show is expected to feature commemorative and collaborative performances entitled In Conversation With Biko, under the banner of The Jazz Poets, Maponya said.

He said that "The People Shall Speak"project would commemorate the 30th anniversary of the October 19 1977 blanket bannings of newspapers, political organisations and activists, known as Black October.

"A question that participants will be asked is to imagine themselves being unbanned 30 years later, and what they would tell their supporters and or South Africa today?" Maponya said.

lSowetan and the Aggrey Klaaste Nation Building Foundation are the media and organising partners of the Steve Biko 30th Anniversary celebratory events.