A historic day: Remembering Steve Biko on the anniversary of his death

A historic day: Remembering Steve Biko on the anniversary of his death

- On this day in history, Steve Biko was killed while in detention at Pretoria Central Prison

- The freedom fighter sustained fatal injuries to his head during an interrogation

- Briefly.co.za decided to honour the late hero by taking a look at his life

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On Thursday, South Africans flooded social media with posts honouring Steve Biko as they mourned the anniversary of his death.

Biko was killed on this day in 1977 by apartheid police while in detention at the Pretoria Central Prison.

The freedom fighter sustained fatal injuries during the interrogation process.

"We remember #SteveBiko's selfless sacrifice to restore people to their humanity," the Steve Biko Foundation wrote on Twitter.

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Briefly.co.za decided to take a brief look at his life, career and events that led to his death.

Bantu Stephen Biko was born into a poor Xhosa family on 18 December, 1946. He grew up in Ginsberg township in the Eastern Cape and at the age of 20, Biko started studying medicine at the University of Natal.

During his studies, the freedom fighter joined the National Union of South African Students (NUSAS) and he became active in protesting the apartheid system.

From a very young age, Biko strongly opposed the regime. According to Wikipedia, Biko grew frustrated with NUSAS and other anti-apartheid groups, which were dominated by white liberals.

In 1968, Biko and other black students formed the South African Students' Organisation (SASO), and despite the crucial role he played in the formation of SASO, Biko kept a low profile.

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In 1973, the government placed a banning order on Biko - who was at the time busy with activities relating to the Black Consciousness movement.

The order restricted Biko's movement and banned him from addressing people in public. The media was also not allowed to quote him.

In 1977, Biko broke his banning order by travelling to Cape Town and he was arrested at a road block on 17 August.

Biko was detained at the Walmer police station in Port Elizabeth. He was locked up in a cell with his legs in shackles and his body completely naked.

On 6 September, Biko was transferred to the security police headquarters in the Sanlam Building in central Port Elizabeth.

It was during the 22-hour interrogation that Biko was fatally injured. After a doctor claimed he had no injuries, two other physicians concluded that blood cells had entered his spinal fluid.

He was moved to a prison hospital in Pretoria via a Land Rover and reports claimed he was naked and cuffed for the 1 190 km drive.

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Source: Briefly.co.za

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