Black on black violence undermines the legacy of Steve Biko

THEN President Nelson Mandela at the September 15, 1997 unveiling of Steve Bikos statue in East London, with Bikos widow Ntsiki and the slain black conciousness leaders close friend and comrade, Mamphele Ramphele. Benny Gool African News Agency (ANA) File

“Bob Marley said how long shall they kill our prophets while we stand aside, little did he know that eventually the enemy will stand aside while we kill our own brothers knowing that already they are the victims of the situation, still licking wounds from brutality, still licking wounds from humiliation” sings the late veteran reggae artist, Lucky Dube in his song titled victim.

Steve Bantu Biko was brutally killed by the racist apartheid regime in 1977 for his role to dismantling white supremacy. Biko is considered to be the father of Black Consciousness which was inspired by an American movement known as Black Power which was aimed at fighting racism or white supremacy led by popular figures such as Malcom X, King Martin Luther Jnr and many others.

12th September 2019 marks the 42nd since the brutal assassination of Bantu Biko, he was killed by the notorious apartheid security forces. Biko and all the Black Consciousness adherents positively influenced the political discourse when all the liberation organisations (PAC, ANC and SACP) were banned by the government which was declared a crime against humanity by the United Nations (UN).

Biko should be turning in his grave; his struggle seems to have been in vain. It is very disturbing to see the heightened levels of violence taking place in our black communities; the murder rate in our country shockingly surpasses those of countries at warfare.

South Africa has always been a “headline-oriented” nation; it is the media which decide the national discourse or debate. We are now focusing on the gender-based-violence, which is a worry to any sober person. We had been made to focus on the so-called political killings in the past to a point where Moerane Commission was established by the former president Jacob Zuma. There was a concept thrown again dubbed “farm killings” which denoted that white farmers were under attack especially during the popular debate of returning the land without compensation, a call led by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

We should not title these brutal killings, the fact is that people are dying and the principal victim is black population. Of course women and children are main victims but the focus should generally be to combat all the killings of any persons. We have to ensure that murderers pay for their offences, they should not “get away with murder”.

I was very stunned to hear government saying that 10 of 12 people died in the recent violence known as Afrophobic are South African citizens. Criminals had infiltrated an innocent and legitimate movement by the citizens who were complaining about the unregulated, uncontrolled and unmanageable immigration into their country. The movement started after a South African taxi driver tried to stop a foreign drug dealer to sell drugs to people, Jabu Hlongwane is a hero for dying for a good cause.

Violence is never the answer no matter how valid concerns are; dialogue should always be the only option to arrive at a consensus. The South Africans have previously raised concerns about the reluctant of government to control the borders.

Donald Trump in fact won elections because of his anti-immigration stance; he is now keeping his promise of building a wall which divides his country with Mexico. He is accusing the Mexican of smuggling drugs in his country. Italy is no longer allowing immigrants to its country especially those who are coming from Africa. German chancellor, Angela Merkel, was known for promoting immigration but Germany is very strict in terms of managing in terms of managing its borders.

Botswana is very strict when it comes to protecting its borders, in fact you don’t even enter its borders with a livestock. You cannot even bribe a Batswana authority at the border, which is how they are patriotic. South Africa has a better infrastructure which can be used to control who or what enters our borders.

I recently had chitchat with a Mozambican hairdresser who told me that he has been in South Africa since 2001 but didn’t have documents. He told me that there is a policeman who usually pops into his salon every weekend to take a bribe; this seems to have been going on for some years now. Our police force is compromised; many of them are responsible for the violence that we are seeing today.

The black on black violence is prevalent in black communities; the chief attribute is inferiority complex. We are now seeing the effects of colonialism, which of course would not be abolished overnight.

Our primary and tertiary education curricula should encompass Black Consciousness and Pan Africanism as a way of eradicating and dismantling white supremacy. Our education is still inferior; it produces non-thinkers who are unable to live with other people. Our education system produces people who are unable to read or write.

The principal objective of education should first be to teach people to live together in the society, and then the second goal should be to teach them how to survive within the ambits of established laws and norms, that is an economical aspect. The current education system fails to honour these two goals, we are seeing graduates who find it difficult to live harmoniously with others while other graduates are said to be unemployable.

Black Consciousness intentions was to restore the dignity to the black person, it was to make us complete human beings who are not wishing to be like any other group which arrogantly believe to be more superior than others. We still have black people who are doing everything possible not to be black, this is self-hate.

Kenneth Mokgatlhe is a political commentator.