Stephen Biko: 40 years ago

“Today is the 40th anniversary of the death of Steve Biko.
 
He was brutally beaten in an interrogation room in Port Elizabeth and died from his injuries soon after.
 
For those not familiar with his story, he was the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement which inspired many young South Africans to fight apartheid.
 
Many had hoped that the international protest and attention that he had received at the time of his arrest might protect him, but that was not to be, and the announcement of his death sent out shock waves and was the trigger for the song ‘Biko’.
 
Steve Biko was a key youth leader and, had he lived, would have emerged as a world figure. By all accounts he was very smart, charismatic, had a great sense of humour, and could have had a key role in the shaping of a new South Africa.
 
It has been a very important song for me. Both music and lyric are simple but written to be direct and emotional. It also led me into new territory of sound and rhythm. It will always hold a lot of powerful memories for me”.

– Peter Gabriel

Stephen Biko 18 December 1946 – 12 September 1977