Biko belongs to the People

2015-09-14 09:28

“All in all the Black man has become a shell, a shadow of a man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity” this Biko teaches us as the first truth that any proponents of change needs to address in South Africa.

This emanates from years of spiritual, social, cultural and economic subjugation of the Black man in South Africa. Any struggle for the liberation of a defeated people that fails to address the psychological effects of racial oppression on the minds of the oppressed is likely to fall into the trap of what Frantz Fanon described as the pitfalls of national consciousness were the politically liberated Natives would seek to emulate the behavior of their Colonizers thus prolonging the suffering of the People as their struggle is based on a narrow reading of the Black Condition.

These new ruling elites are comfortable with inheriting the colonial system as it is, infact to them National Liberation was about the integration into the White Man’s world that is they fought for a sit at the dinner table with their Masters and are happy to feed on the crumbs of their colonizer. This class of the native petty bourgeoisie is quick to abandon the People’s cause as it is obsessed with upward mobility and defending the gains of white monopoly capital. This Black middle class (Black Diamonds) do not play an active role in the political life of the country as they are comfortable at pointing fingers from their arm chairs in glass houses; they are obsessed with conspicuous consumption and do nothing to address apathy in society.

In South Africa this class is represented by the beneficiaries of ANC patronage through BEE deals, political deployees, academics, professionals and corrupt bureaucrats. Who on their ascendance in the social strata abandon the cause of the People for narrow personal gains that will only yield short term gains for them and their immediate family.

This is the class that is responsible for intellectual gate-keeping, who bestow upon themselves the role of selecting who can best interpret the historical injustice that we are faced with in South Africa and want to be the voice of the oppressed without understanding the current conditions of the poor and marginalized. These are the people who have a problem with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) commemorating Steve Biko, because to them the poor masses are incapable of grasping the teachings of Black Consciousness thus they seek to reduce Biko to a theorist and find no problem in confining his teachings on the restoration of the Black man’s dignity and humanity to lecture halls of white institutions.

They fear a majority of the oppressed that would be conscious of their suffering and be able to discern that the oppressor has changed faces. These self-anointed thought police want to remove Biko from the People and forget the fact that Biko stood for grass roots political activism, he understood that abstract theories at times do not appeal to the masses unless they are matched with practice as he correctly put it that only the deeds can heard by the poor and the oppressed.

Therefore black consciousness cannot be divorced from the fight for economic freedom as a defeated people who suffer from an inferiority complex cannot grasp the importance of self-determination as envisaged in the Economic Freedom Fighters 7 non-negotiable cardinal pillars that seek to redress the historical injustices. The EFF is a self-styled revolutionary party with members ranging from the radical township youths to peasants in the country side and uses an unconventional approach from conservative discourse in assimilating the message of black consciousness to grassroots activists in the language they understand.

The awakening of a people cannot be left to elites who are not in touch with the grassroots community struggles of the time. Sekou Toure was conscious of this fact when he postulated that “to take part in the African revolution, it is not enough to write a revolutionary song, you must fashion the revolution with the people. And if you fashion it with the people, the songs will come by themselves”

#IzweLethu #BikoLives

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