Every morning, a dream means you have to convince yourself to chase it. Something forces us back to sleep; other than the weekend we spent completely in bed, because the sky was pouring in, the roads were flooded, and the electric cables were floating to nowhere. What are we actually scared of when our heads are full of ideas and our hands are itching so badly? Death? End of the World? Or is death and the end of the world as much a part of life like these seconds we spend breathing?
Something to read:
*The following is an excerpt from I Write What I Like (Steve Biko 1946-77), a selection of his writings edited by Aelred Stubbs C.R.
These words, extracted from an interview with an American businessman given some months before Steve’s final detention and death, but not printed in The New Republic until 7 January 1978, need no further comment.
You are either alive and 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. So you die in the riots. For a hell of a lot of them, in fact, there’s really nothing to lose – almost literally, given the kind of situations that they come from. So if you can overcome the personal fear for death, which is a highly irrational thing, you know then you’re on the way.
And in interrogation the same sort of thing applies. I was talking to this policeman, and I told him, “If you want us to make any progress, the best thing is for us to talk. Don’t try any form of rough stuff, because it just won’t work.” And this is absolutely true also. For I just couldn’t see what they could do to me which would make me all of a sudden soften to them. If they talk to me, well I’m bound to be affected by them as human beings. But at the moment they adopt rough stuff, they are imprinting in my mind that they are police. And I only understand one form of dealing with police, and that’s to be as unhelpful as possible. So I button up. And I told them this: “It’s up to you.” We had a boxing match the first day I was arrested. Some guy tried to clout me with a club. I went into him like a bull. I think he was under instructions to take it so far and no further, and using open hands so that he doesn’t leave any marks on the face. And of course he said exactly what you were saying just now: “I will kill you.” He meant to intimidate. And my answer was: “How long is it going to take you?” Now of course they were observing my reaction. And they could see I was completely unbothered. If they beat me up, it’s to my advantage. I can use it. They just killed somebody in jail – a friend of mine – about ten days before I was arrested. Now it would have been bloody useful evidence for them to assault me. At least it would indicate what kind of possibilities were there, leading to this guy’s death. So I wanted them to go ahead and do what they could do, so that I could use it. I wasn’t really afraid that their violence might lead me to make revelations I didn’t want to make, because I had nothing to reveal on this particular issue. I was operating from a very good position, and they were in a very weak position. My attitude is, I’m not going to allow them to carry out their program faithfully. If they want to beat me five times, they can only do so on condition that I allow them to beat me five times. If I react sharply, equally and oppositely, to the first clap, they are not going to be able to systematically count the next four claps, you see. It’s a fight. So if they had meant to give me so much of a beating, and not more, my idea is to make them go beyond what they wanted to give me and to give back as much as I can give so that it becomes an uncontrollable thing. You see the one problem this guy had with me: he couldn’t really fight with me because it meant he must be hit back, like a man. But he was given instructions, you see, on how to hit, and now these instructions were no longer applying because it was a fight. So he had to withdraw and get more instructions. So I said to them, “Listen, if you guys want to 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’m certainly going to respond. And I’m afraid you may have to kill me in the process even if it’s not your intention.”
Stephen Biko (18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977 was a noted anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. On the 18th of August, 1977, Biko was arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No 83 of 1967 and interrogated by officers of the Port Elizabeth security police including Harold Snyman and Gideon Nieuwoudt. This interrogation took place in the Police Room 619. The interrogation lasted twenty-two hours and included torture and beatings resulting in a coma. He suffered a major head injury while in police custody, and was chained to a window grille for a day. On 11 September 1977, police loaded him in the back of a Land Rover, naked and restrained in manacles, and began the 1100 km drive to Pretoria to take him to a prison with hospital facilities. However, he was nearly dead owing to the previous injuries. He died shortly after arrival at the Pretoria prison, on 12 September. Read more on Wikipedia.
- R.I.P. Steve Bantu Biko, Dec. 18, 1946 – Sept. 12, 1977 (redantliberationarmy.wordpress.com)
- Steve Bantu Biko: Towards Black Empowerment (naisentertainment.wordpress.com)
- Thinking about TEDx (amandakoster.wordpress.com)
- steve biko: a legacy (doepelganger.com)