Professor Angela Davis delivers Steve Biko lecture

By Nomzamo Ngcobo
09 September 2016

American political activist, academic scholar and author Professor Angela Davis will deliver the 17th annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at Unisa tonight.The lecture is part of the 39th anniversary of Biko’s murder who died shortly after his arrival at Pretoria Prison on 12 September 1977.

American political activist, academic scholar and author Professor Angela Davis will deliver the 17th annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture at Unisa tonight.

The lecture is part of the 39th anniversary of Biko’s murder. He died shortly after his arrival at Pretoria Prison on 12 September 1977. He was transported there from the Walmer Police Station in Port Elizabeth where he had been held after being arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No. 83 of 1967 on 18 August 1977. His death followed 22 hours of interrogation, torture and beatings.

It’s no coincidence that Prof. Davis (72) is delivering the lecture: she’s known for her work in combating all forms of oppression in the US and abroad over the years. As a result of her social activism and her membership in the Communist Party in the US, she came to national attention after she was removed from her teaching position in the Philosophy Department at the University of California in 1969. In 1970, she was placed on the FBI’s 10 most-wanted list on false charges.

Former Unisa vice chancellor and principal Professor Barney Pityana described Biko as an ordinary person who made something extraordinary out of his life. He said: “He touched the lives of young men and women of his generation and he was part of an abiding movement capable of changing the social and political face of our country.”

Professor Ben Khoapa, a Steve Biko Foundation board member, will deliver the keynote address at the memorial lecture, and Afro-jazz artist Sipho “Hotstix” Mabusewill perform.

An announcement about the relaunch of the publication Black Review, which was started by Biko and Prof. Khoapa, will also likely be made. Black Review was a series of annual reports launched in 1972 that provided important material for the attention of the broad black political leadership and assessed the state of affairs in the country, with special regard to advancing the ideals of freedom.

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