Back then,Nigeria played a big part in the struggle and liberation of South Africa.Our government invested millions into the cause.I remember being so upset a year before when Nigeria boycotted the 1976 Olympics.We had a fantastic football team and me being such a big soccer fan was looking forward to seeing our players take on the world.And then the news came through that we would not
be going to the Montreal Olympics afterall.Nigeria boycotted the 1976 games for what reason i asked?
Well,New Zealand's All Black rugby team had toured South Africa,who by now had been banned for over a decade from the Olympics due to their apartheid rule.African countries then called on the International Olympic committee to ban the All Blacks,they refused,hence the boycott.
So you see,thanks to the wonderful educational system Nigeria had back then,we the students were well informed and knew exactly what was going on in the international domains.Biko was a big hero in Nigeria especially amongst the young ones.
I still remember some of his famous quotes,most of us did at school and here are some of my favourites below....
1-A people without a positive history is like a vehicle without an engine.
2-The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed.
3-Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being.
4-A Black man should be more independent and depend on himself for his freedom and not to take it for granted that someone would lead him to it. The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves.
My hero was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s.He was a medical student and a student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population.
He was arrested by South African police in September 1977 for subversion. While in police custody in Port Elizabeth,he went through what many blacks had to go through back then,he was brutally beaten and then driven 700 miles to Pretoria, where he was thrown into a cell. On September 12, 1977, his dead and naked body was found shackled on the filthy floor of a police hospital.Even writing this after all this years still makes my eyes well up,i cannot understand how people can be so cruel and wicked.How you could do this to a fellow human being just because the colour of his skin is different to yours.
Stephen's family and blacks all over the world,as well as fair minded whites i must also include,had a bit of closure in 1997, when the men who killed him admitted to this.The men, who were four former police officers, including a Police Colonel,Gideon Nieuwoudt.They however were refused amnesty by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission headed by Arch Bishop Desmond Tutu. The reason for their refusal was because they had failed to establish a political motive for the brutal killing.
Biko was born on December 18,1946.People who give their lives for a cause selflessly like this,always make me question myself.Can i do the same?Much as i would love to,i don't think i have the guts or selflessness.It really is an incredible sacrifice to make.To be ready to give your life and leave your own children,wife,family and friends behind for ever.
I salute all the greats and all my heroes.Muhammad Ali,Fela Anikulapo Kuti,Malcom X,Martin Luther King jnr,Nelson Mandela,and many more that time and space will not permit me to mention here.