Steve Biko's cell cleansed
Johannesburg - The 25th anniversary of the death of Steve Bantu Biko, the Black
Consciousness leader, was marked with the cleansing of a Port
Elizabeth police cell where he was detained prior to his death,
SABC television news reported on Sunday.
Biko died at the hands of apartheid security police on September
Biko was brought to the Port Elizabeth police cells in August
1977. He was always kept in chains, and slept in urine-soaked
blankets, often naked and cold. He was tortured to death on
September 12. Many leaders across the world remembered Biko's
death, which changed the political landscape of South Africa.
In a special supplement by the Steve Biko Foundation, Steve Biko
25 years on, former president Nelson Mandela said: "His life was
extinguished with more callousness and casualness than a person
snuffing out a candle flame between calloused thumb and
Miriam Tladi, a well-known novelist said: "Steve was one of
those leaders who charted the course for our self-image and for
their relentless efforts paid the ultimate price for doing so."
Members of the Azanian People's Organisation (Azapo) visited the
cells on Sunday as a symbolic restoration of their mentor's
dignity. The clergy cleansed it to remove the spiritual and
physical humiliation Biko suffered.
"This is to us an emotional connection with Steve once more and
to ensure that we don't forget what happened to many of us who
brought our freedom," said Mosibudi Mangena, Azapo's president.
Azapo insists that Biko's legacy will always be relevant as long
as the ideals he lived and died for are not fulfilled. "Our country
is not equal. Equal only in Constitution and in the ballot, we
still have to struggle to build that," Mangena said.