Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday marked the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the passing of Steve Bantu Biko by placing a wreath at the prison cell in which he died at Kgosi Mampuru Correctional Centre in Pretoria.
Biko, a former Black Consciousness Movement leader, died on September 12, 1977 in the police cell at the then Pretoria Central Prison following his arrest in August 1977.
He had been severely beaten by the apartheid security police while in police detention in Port Elizabeth and had sustained serious injuries, including brain damage.
Zuma reminisced about Biko's role in the struggle and his political campaign to conscientise black people about the importance of liberating their minds.
"He very much tried to concientise the country that being black was not a sin. It is an act of God. We should not feel inferior about it. We should be proud of it because it is what we are," he said.
Zuma hailed Biko for keeping to his words that "We must not fear".
"He was arrested and tortured but he never gave in and he was prepared to die," Zuma said.
He described Biko as a "hero that we must remember together with other heroes who fought for our freedom".
"Today we are here visiting prison in which he was kept, particularly the cell in which he lived and lost his life, just to come and remember him and many other heroes who participated in our struggle," Zuma said.
The president used the opportunity to remind the country that the attainment of political freedom was not enough without economic emancipation.
He encouraged black people to be part of the struggle to "correct the wrongs of history".
Zuma remarked that South Africa was still a country made up of two worlds, defined by the rich and poor status.