...was led by many rather than few, and that Black Consciousness was a mass movement of which he was only one of many articulators. But in this he deceived himself. From early youth he was so obviously a leader and was perceived by so many of his contemporaries as such, that he was inevitably deferred to in any gathering of which he was a part.
He was, in fact, the main guiding founder and inspiration of Black Consciousness, which addressed itself to black youth to prepare it for a new phase of the struggle for freedom.
The idea behind Black Consciousness was to break away almost entirely from past black attitudes to the liberation struggle and to set a new style of self-reliance and dignity for blacks as a psychological attitude leading to new initiatives. From this philosophy came many black organizations which sprang from the Black Consciousness movement, mainly the Black People's Convention (BPC) and the all-black South African Student's Organization (SASO). Biko and his associates used almost brutal language to initiate these bodies, because they felt they first had to get blacks to break away from the whites in multiracial organizations such as the National Union of South African Students.
It was the height of irony that the first major manifestation
of Black Consciousness sprang from a black breach with one of
the most courageously pro-black white youth organizations, the
National Union of South African Students. NUSAS consisted
mainly of white English-speaking students of the liberal
universities of Cape Town, Witwatersrand (Johannesburg), Natal
(Durban and Pietermaritzburg), and Rhodes (Grahamstown). Its
leaders and office bearers had repeatedly been jailed, banned
and prosecuted for protesting against racial injustice, and
although NUSAS tried
(copyright 1978 by Donald Woods)
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