Ben Okri: Reincarnate Biko's vigour

Professor Ben Okri says Steve Biko would have questioned the events of Marikana.

The Steve Biko Foundation hosts the annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture on the anniversary of his death every year.

CAPE TOWN - Steve Biko would have raised serious concerns about the killings of striking Marikana miners by police.

This is the view of one of South Africa's foremost writers, Professor Ben Okri.

He delivered the 13th annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture on Wednesday evening at the University of Cape Town (UCT). Wednesday marked the 35th anniversary of Biko's death.

He died in police custody after being beaten and tortured in September 1977.

Professor Okri said South Africans must reincarnate Biko's vigour and ask tough questions of those in power.

The award-winning poet and novelist said Biko would have queried the actions of police in Marikana. Officers gunned down 34 striking miners, some of whom were armed.

"He might have expressed concerns about the police reaction to the striking miners of Marikana.'

Okri said the Black Consciousness icon would have noted the Marikana deaths had a "disturbing resonance" with his own.

The professor added if Biko was alive he would be appalled at the greed of government officials and the failure of African governments to feed and educate their people.