His teachings helped shape our democracy

Steve Biko taught us never to regard ourselves as inferior to the white people . He also taught us never to hate whites but rather what they stood for. I remember an incident in 1976, just a few weeks after June 16, at a shopping mall in Queenstown.

Steve Biko taught us never to regard ourselves as inferior to the white people . He also taught us never to hate whites but rather what they stood for. I remember an incident in 1976, just a few weeks after June 16, at a shopping mall in Queenstown.

A white woman carrying several parcels dropped something. I picked it up and gave it to her. She was so astonished by my action and could not stop thanking me. Despite the anger of what was happening to my fellow young blacks in the townships, I could not ditch Biko's lesson.

Then in 1988, I was watching my seven-year-old son, Sizwe, and other boys playing soccer in the street. I could not help noticing how all the boys went by the names of Mxolisi, Tshepo, Khomotso, Sandile, Khotso, Thabo, etc. Not a single one of them had an English name.

There is no doubt that all this sense of pride in our names was made possible by the teachings of Steve Biko through his philosophy.

There is also no doubt that the spirit of Black Consciousness made possible the uprising of 1976, which in turn led to the invigoration of the liberation movement.

Buddy NtsongPretoria

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