Biko and the Future of Black Consciousness in South Africa

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The Black Consciousness movement in South Africa was revived in earnest by young people in the late 1960s, and the majority of them were university students. From its revival, it was perceived to be synonymous with the activist, Stephen Bantu Biko. This philosophy sought to inject hope, dignity, and liberation among Black people. Influenced by other black intellectuals such as Frantz Fanon, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X, Julius Nyerere and Aime Cesaire, Biko preached black pride and mental freedom. This article examines the relevance of Black Consciousness today and how it can continue to engender the principles of social justice and liberation of Black people in South Africa. Many critics would be interested in understanding whether Black Consciousness can be regarded as one of the conduits of enhancing the South African metaphor, “rainbow nation,” which envisages unity after the 1994 triumph of the democratic government. This article also explores whether there is nearness between the Pan-African philosophy and Black Consciousness. The conclusions clearly affirm the critical role Black Consciousness can play in entrenching conscientization, humanness, and freedom from subservience. It also concludes that Black Consciousness is one philosophy that is necessary for the affirmation of Black people not only in South Africa but from around the world.