Stephen Bantu Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement, which its aim was to empower and mobilize much of the urban black population.
He was imprisoned on charges of terrorism. The South African Minister of Police announced that he died after a seven-day hunger strike. Riots ensued in the aftermath of this statement, and a few students were killed in the protests.
The annual lectures are held to commemorate the life and death of Stephen Bantu Biko and to celebrate his courage and leadership as a political activist. The lectures also celebrated him as an intellectual whose courage was in the battlefield of ideas, through his writing, and whose greatest contribution was the intellectual contribution he made to the struggle and to the ideas of black consciousness.
Biko also urged the people who work and study in universities, and in particular university students who have the opportunity as part of student, movements, to be the vanguards of change.
This coming Sunday will mark the 44th year of Biko’s passing in police detention. And it is reported that this year lecture will be delivered virtually by the first female director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Matshidiso Moeti. “We’ve invited Dr Moeti, who is the director responsible for Africa at the World Health Organization to lead us through that conversation,” said Nkosinathi Biko, the son of Stephen Biko. He added that the legacy of Steve Biko will live forever, because legacies do sustain when they live in people’s hearts.