Anti-apartheid leader Steve Biko, founder of the Black Consciousness Movement. PICTURE: INDEPENDENT ARCHIVES
Cape Town - Stephen (Steve) Bantu Biko was a popular voice of Black liberation in South Africa between the mid 1960s and his death in police detention in 1977. 

He was only 30 when he died in the custody of the Apartheid police. 

Biko would have been 71 years old today – younger than President Jacob Zuma.

Biko’s legacy has lived on through his ideals and being on the forefront of the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) as it gained prominence. Although Biko was not its only leader, he was its most recognisable figure

In celebration on the SA struggle icon, here are five quotes from the figure that has remained in the collective consciousness:

5.  "Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time. Its essence is the realisation by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression - the blackness of their skin - and to operate as a group to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude."'

Letter to SRC Presidents, I Write What I Like, 1978.

4. "You are either alive and proud or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can't care anyway."

As quoted in the Boston Globe, 25 October 1977.

3.  "Being black is not a matter of pigmentation - being black is a reflection of a mental attitude."

From Steve Biko's evidence given at the SASO/BPC trial, 3 May 1976.

2.  "The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."

On Death, I Write What I Like, 1978

1. "Black man, you are on your own."

The Quest for a True Humanity, I Write What I Like, 1978.

Source: SA History

Cape Argus