AZAPO members commemorated the anniversary of the death of Steve Biko.  Picture:   Oupa MokoenaAfrican News Agency (ANA)
AZAPO members commemorated the anniversary of the death of Steve Biko. Picture: Oupa MokoenaAfrican News Agency (ANA)
Steve Biko was remembered by Azapo members at an event held in his former prison cell in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)
Steve Biko was remembered by Azapo members at an event held in his former prison cell in Pretoria. Picture: Oupa Mokoena African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - The life of anti-apartheid icon Steve Biko was celebrated yesterday by members of the Azanian People’s Organisation (Azapo), who visited the cell in which he took his last breath in Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre.

The organisation, which prides itself for being the official bearer of the Black Consciousness Movement, said it continued celebrating the life of Biko since his death on September 12, 1977.

While other Azapo members engaged in various activities to celebrate Biko across the country, its president, Strike Thokoane, led a delegation to the prison cell that’s now a monument.

The crowd observed a moment of silence in the prison passage. According to Azapo, this was to protest against gender-based violence, substance abuse and African-against- African violence, and honour the life of fallen former Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

High Court Judge Thami Makhanya, former Azapo deputy president Reverend Joe Seoka and president of the Black Consciousness Movement Professor Itumeleng Mosala were also present.

Thokoane, addressing the crowd, said: “We have just come to say Biko, one more time, another year, we are here.

“We want to say to Biko, our country gets into serious trouble and serious crisis every year as a result of mismanagement and veering faraway from the Black Consciousness Movement and from the spirit that this country was fought for.

“Biko, we want to say to you, you can see in our country that women are raped and children are killed, families are dislodged, and all this is at the doorstep of some of those who used to be with you in the Struggle and they’ve betrayed you.

“Biko, we are praying to you to give us strength so that we can go and fight for our revolution,” said Thokoane.

The delegation laid wreaths in the cell to show their appreciation and love for Biko, who “shook the apartheid system” when he refused to accept living in an unequal South Africa.

Their visit to the cell was to recommit themselves to a vision of a South Africa that was progressive and protective of the vulnerable. It was also to reconnect with political ancestors and remember that the land was still not in the hands of the rightful owners, Azapo said.

The crowd sang Struggle songs to demonstrate their respect for everything Biko stood for.

Thokoane said he was proud of all organisations that joined hands to celebrate the anniversary of the death of Biko with Azapo.

Pretoria News