Thu, 13 Sep, 2012
Local poets, writers, comedians and activists gathered on Wednesday evening to commemorate deceased Black Consciousness leader Steven Bantu Biko at Olde 65, in New Street.
The event attracted a full house of people from all walks of life. People listened attentively to dialogues, discussions and poetry and watched slides of Biko's life, as well as a video of an interview with legendary American civil rights activist Malcolm X.
Xolile Madinda, Fingo Festival director, said the idea of the event had been to reflect on Biko's ideology and imagine the lives of the South African working class in the near future. He then asked the audience whether Black Consciousness was relevant today.
Although some members of the audience felt it was time to embrace all races, the majority felt that Black Consciousness was relevant. Steven Bantu Biko's spirit is alive and his ideas relate to this so-called South Africa that is still a deeply divided and racist system with the majority of black people continuing to suffer in poverty, said Bulelani Booi, better known as Words, from the Wordsuntame Acoustic Soul group.
He questioned the relevance of a European God in a black society. After the discussion, poets delivered their verses. Sinethemba Khonzaphi recited a piece about Black Consciousness and the struggle of the working class to identify with the political situation of Grahamstown.
After that Tsepiso Nzayo, who said he was a Bikoist, took to the stage with a moving poem about Biko. He said that they needed to take Biko's ideology forward and start to consider language as their instrument of struggle. Biko gave us points of enlightenment that we should be taking forward into our own struggle, Madinda said.