Bantu Biko Shackled and Naked: Blow to the head
Commemoration of Bantu Biko.
Bantu Biko Shackled and Naked: Blow to the head – By Obakeng
Sol Plaatje University Pan Afrikan Organization.
14 September 2017
Solomon Plaatje. Kgosi Luka Jantje. Kgosi Kgolo Lotlamoreng.Kgosi Galeshewe. Mangaliso Sobukwe. Onkgopotse Tiro. Mapetla Mohapi. Thami Mnyele. Tsietsi Mashinini. Kgotso Seatlholo.
Receive my humble greetings.
I am here sent to represent Pan Afrikan Congress of Azania and Pan Afrikanist Student Movement of Azania, which is to be launched soonest at SPU.
Once again we are here in the center of knowledge generation, tasked to input on the life of our father Bantu Biko. It has become a fashionable trend to comment on the life of the departed, everyone is in a haste to be seen relevant or doing something in historic events. I think Bantu is yearly agitated by a fracas of rubbish that is said and done in his name. Two days ago on his death, I was gob smacked to hear a statement of the democratic alliance on our father.
It should be noted that they have exhausted all their supposed revolutionary icons, thus the left and black is the last avenue in populist pursuits. The unprecedented input was from the head of state, when he draw similarities between “himself and Bantu”. Sello had no choice but to input “they killed Biko because he had an idea: blacks must be black and proud”, where one see rampant re-circulation or regurgitation of what is evident in the current epoch.
What did we do to deserve this? Our father is consistently vulgarized and shred to pieces to suit liberal agendas.
I think it’s a great injustice to the memory of Bantu Biko to revere his impeccable mind and works without acknowledging the contribution of Mangaliso Sobukwe in the ideological development of Biko. The fountain of wisdom that made him one day trek King Williams Town to Kgosi Galeshewe community just to have a sip. Tonight we gathered here to have a conversation and contribute to the body of knowledge in regard of our father from Ginsberg.
My input on the black man martyred on the 12 September 1977 is deliberately themed: “Bantu Biko Shackled and Naked: blows to the head” It is reported elsewhere that from the 06th and 7th September 1977 he sustained heavy blows to the head and became unconscious for some time.
I would like to believe that the pounding on the head continued until his final hours en route to the hell hole of Pretoria. His death was preceded by one of our valor Mapetla Mohapi, who was murdered by Afrikaner policemen on the 05th August 1976. They took another turn on his lifeless body by tying him from the cold prison bars as a fabricated performance of his alleged “suicide” Ahmed Timol’s demise was the catalyst of perpetual killing of our martyrs since Hintsa. His was a swift bone crashing flight from the top floor of John Vorster Police Station, they broke him then sent him down crashing to his death. I think 1970s was the zenith of brazen cleansing of our key forces in the struggle, decades later followed with numerous cases of that nature.
White people killed our father Mapetla Mohapi, Bantu Biko and Ahmed Timol. Remember that as we organize in the name of Bantu Biko! Nestar Marley once asked “How long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside and look?” 40 years down the line no suspect and no arrest, we still agonizing not organizing for the total overthrow of the capitalism and lumpen none black administration with leanings to the West and East. In the name of our father and martyr Bantu Biko! I think our glorious father Fanon will be happy to know that the youth of today per “Decolonization” “Black radical feminism” “Fees Must Fall” “Rhodes Must Fall” “Outsourcing Must Fall” have chosen their mission and are hell bent to fulfill it. History more than ever beckons, and as cadre Vusi “Mabhoko” Mahlangu in his excellent piece puts it “Steve Biko is US” it’s the Biko in us that will deliver Azania from the ashes of “South Africa”
It was widely reported that he was naked and beaten to a pulp while shackled to iron. He couldn’t stand without assistance and had intense injuries to the head due to repeated blows from white gun totting policemen. Now I will like to briefly attempt to contextualize the following “Bantu Biko Shackled Naked: blows to the head” in the current and previous epochs in Azania.
Bantu’s first time being shackled was when he was confined to King Williamstown and barred from participating in meaningful engagements in society. Furthermore his body being tied to a chair came about his refusal to be mistreated by white police officers, who were instructed to extract information from him through violent means. And that our father could not allow to happen without equal response of violence. Thus he set the terms of engagement between himself and his jailers.
Explicitly intimated “Listen, if you guys want to do this your way, you have got to handcuff me and bind my feet together, so that I can’t respond. If you allow me to respond, I am certainly going to respond. And I am afraid you may have to kill me in the process even if it’s not your intention”
It’s safe to say that Bantu felt shackled by “NUSAS” thus his breakaway to form SASO, he saw the cardinal point of group power and “we are in the position in which we are because of the colour of our skin”. What we learn from this is the fighting spirit and revolt on the face of menacing state apparatus with its concomitant sophisticated tools. That’s where we draw our inspiration when we invoked the spirit of 1976 and made it clear that we cannot breathe anymore. Reflection and wisdom of Biko in the current discourse is evident on the “Rhodes Must Fall” “Decolonization” and “Fees Must Fall” where young people of this university and institutions across Azania demanded “free Afrikanist socialist education”. That’s the Biko unshackled in us, where we consciously and/ unconsciously went on define our ourselves and envision future for Azania through steering the discourse of decolonization to the annals of education and history.
That’s Biko and of course we can never forget Sobukwe in the same spirit, importantly Nkrumah when he rightfully admonished imperial agents “Afrika is not an extension of Europe” thus our affirmation of “decolonization” is a rejection of being an extension of Europe in thought and action. Thus Biko in the corridors of colonized universities of south Africa demanded us “to make the black man come into himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with a pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth”. And that is the basic tenet of Black consciousness as outlined by our father Bantu Biko. So I contest the assertion that Bantu Biko is left in obscurity and dumped in the ash can of history by young people. The very act of having this platform is a testimony of Biko being unshackled in thought and action. In our glorious book of life “I write What I like” he speaks from the grave “You are either alive or proud or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can't care anyway. And your method of death can itself be a politicizing thing” We are here! We have chosen our mission, history will absolve us….whether we betrayed it or fulfilled it!
Bantu Biko was shackled and naked with heavy blows to head left to die on his piss. He fought while shackled to a chair, responded in and to those shackles! Thus they couldn’t break him per instruction but beat him to death. The education system is designed to constrain you to endless piss, which refers to “debt” “suicide” “urban squalor” “poverty” “unemployment” “suspension” “expulsion” “landlessness” “slave docile wage” “ignorance” perpetual “servitude” and eventually “death” Although we consistently breaking the chains to be freely unshackled, thus we say “Land first” “decolonize” which has been and often is bolstered by Black consciousness and Pan Afrikanism “Biko is us” and we are left to our piss to die as Biko was abandoned to his piss and shit in the hell hole!
“Blows to the head” until he lost his speech but relentlessly fought hard to say something in blurred speech. Beat him so hard to the point he couldn’t make a sentence, this for us is the colonized education system of our time. Which relentlessly deal blows to our heads to the point where we lose our sense of self and locating an “issue of conflict” Young people of Soweto in 1976 had enough of being dealt blows to head. Students of Sol Plaatje, Wits, NWU, UCT, WSU, TUT,UJ, CPUT,NMMU,UL,SKM, and others fought hard, and said enough with the blows to the heart. They responded, broke free from the shackles pinned to steel chairs and brought down statues. But then our response was demobilized and flashed before us, the blows are still being dealt on our heads and stomach. Taking back our land is the only solution to stop the blows, which inevitably speed the decolonization program and end white arrogance.
Bantu Biko shackled naked: blows to the head, command us to unshackle, be naked and end the blows to the head. That can only be achieved when we take our land.Organize, don’t agonize! Izwe lethu!.