'One of SA's greatest freedom fighters': 44th anniversary of Biko's death marked

The Biko family, friends and dignitaries held their annual commemoration at his gravesite in Ginsberg, Eastern Cape.

The family and friends of Steve Biko friends held the annual commemoration of his passing at his gravesite in Ginsberg, Eastern Cape, on 2 September 2021. Picture: Steve Biko Foundation.

JOHANNESBURG - On this day 44 years ago, one of the most prolific and sharpest minds to have led the struggle for the emancipation of oppressed South Africans from the brutal apartheid regime died at the hands of police.

South Africa marked the anniversary of Black Consciousness co-founder and leader, Steve Biko, on Sunday.

Biko died at the young age of 31 after being stripped naked, beaten over an extended period and loaded onto the back of a police van to be driven from Port Elizabeth to the Pretoria prison hospital on 12 September 1977.

He is credited with, among other things, inspiring young people in Soweto and Langa to stage the youth uprisings on 16 June of the previous year.

The Biko family, friends and dignitaries held their annual commemoration at his gravesite in Ginsberg, Eastern Cape.

KwaZulu-Natal Premier Sihle Zikalala paid tribute to Biko, who had been a medical student at the-then Natal University and helped start student movements while studying.

Zikalala said Biko’s courageous yet painful story was always a timely reminder of the heavy price that many men and women paid for freedom.

He added that Biko was one of the greatest freedom fighters in the history of South Africa.

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