Is Steve Biko mis-understood

Before I was born. A Black Consciousness Movement leader wrote.

It was years ago. Those closer to him gave their own explanation.

All he said was “Blackman you are on your own”. Everyone understood it to mean the apartheid government will never do a thing for black communities. That the black nation will have to work hard to emancipate itself. That black communities will have to develop themselves and never wait for the government. Everyone agreed the statement spoke to black people as a collective.

Was it really a message for a collective? I think the message was for individuals. In that way when we come together we would be bound together by something we all understand fully. In the idea and struggle for black consciousness and power, no one would be a follower.

Blackman you are on your own, as individuals we would be aware of what to do. On our own we would safe guard our communities, on our own we would say no to corruption. On our own we would not worry about weak links. Blackman, on your own you would vote into power leaders on principle and not by majority’s perception

Blackman, on your own you would seal a port-hole in front of your gate without waiting for a tender to be issued. On your own, you would address the social ills that are decaying our society before they could be actions. On your own you would be proudly South African, buy all that is local produced. On your own you would fight piracy. On your own you would report crime and not wait for the collective.

Blackman, you are still on your own but still we believe as a collective we are still against apartheid. Blackman, on your own you have new battles to fight. On your own you have to speak against other black man abusing power. On your own you have to take care of you own. On your own you have to be equipped for healthy debates. On your own you have to shape the future.

Blackman, on your own you have to leave behind a legacy. On your own you have to bring to life Steve Biko’s words. On your own, decide to act and do something. Maybe this way. With your own, you won’t be alone.

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