When I think of 9/11, I initially think of a birth, my own, then a death, that of South African freedom fighter Steve Biko, who was murdered by police on the 11th of September 1977. Some of you may remember his name from the movie, Cry Freedom, made based on his story.

A clip from the movie of a memorial celebrating Biko:

My mother raised me with her own Pan-Afrikan educational bent, and I’ve been thinking about her as well, since I recently lost a massive amount of data on a hard drive that included conversations with her (please backup your precious memories, people).

Today, the UK paper, The Independent, has done a lengthy article on Biko that’s worth reading. It covers the circumstances of his death, his political beliefs, the pop-culturalization of his image a la Che Guevara and the impact he might have in South Africa today were he alive to criticize the ANC-led government.

Excerpt from the article:

To an ANC government vulnerable to left-wing accusations that it has pursued rigidly orthodox capitalist economic policies that have not done enough for the masses, it is not an entirely comforting thought.

There is disenchantment among young South Africans, who see the country’s leaders embroiled in scandal and a new black elite growing richer while most blacks find it harder and harder to keep up with inflation.

As we combat our own disconnected leadership in a country attempting racial reconciliation, and as we are engaged in an occupation of another nation, no one better embodies the idea of “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” as does Steve Biko.

(cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK)

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