|Steve Biko (1946 - 1977)|
Now please do not be angry at me. I mean no slight of Mr. Mandela; he was a remarkable man. He, more than any other, prevented South Africa from being plunged into civil war after Chris Hani was killed in 1993. But you must understand that I was in my late teens when Biko was at the height of his activism in Apartheid South Africa. I knew nothing much about Mr. Mandela at the time except that he was imprisoned for life for conspiracy to overthrow the South African Government and except that there were worldwide cries for his release. But it was with Steve Biko's views that I was most familiar and by which I was most influenced. When he was murdered by the South African Police in September 1977, I was 18 years old. And after all these years, I guess I still have not gotten over his death. To this day, I cannot think of Mr. Mandela without thinking about Steve Biko. Mr. Mandela was great, but he stood on the shoulders of the equally great, Steve Biko. Rest in peace, Steve Biko; rest in peace, Mr. Mandela. May we never lose that revolutionary spirit that you both exhibited in your prime and with which the elite would rather not identify.