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Steve Biko

Steve Biko

Birth date:

December 18, 1946

Death date:

September 12, 1977

Age at Death:



Steve Biko was a South American anti-apartheid activist. He grew up in a poor Xhosa family in Ginsberg township in the Eastern Cape. He was the third oldest of four kids, and his father worked as a police officer. He went to college and school to study medicine. He then joined the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS). He was strongly opposed to racial segregation and injustice and worked very hard to diminish it. He was married to Ntsiki Mashalaba and they had 5 kids together. He became famous quickly for his movements against white supremacy and racial inequalities.

Biko had been banned in 1973 by the government because they saw Black Consciousness as a threat. This prevented him from leaving his district and prohibited him from speaking in public or to any person at that time. In 1977, Biko broke his banning order by travelling to Cape Town in hopes to meet with people to grow his movement. Biko was driving back and was stopped by a police on August 18th, and was arrested for having broken the ban. He was interrogated, handcuffed, and chained. He was beaten by the officers resulting in three brain lesions that led to a brain hemorrhage. A doctor examined him and said there was no evidence of injury, even though there clearly was. He was then transported to a prison hospital to be further examined and died alone on the trip there.

Was justice served?

Justice has not been served. The 5 police officers were never prosecuted and the doctor was not held accountable for his complicity. This was a standard outcome in apartheid South Africa.

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