About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Black Consciousness (BC)

Black intellectuals headed by Steve Biko, decided in the 1960s that blacks (defined as all who were discriminated against by virtue of their race) should organize a movement to promote self-esteem. Using slogans of black assertion borrowed from the American Black Power Movement, BC drew inspiration from black novelists poets and intellectuals to inculcate a positive 'black world' view. The exclusively black South African Students Organization* (SASO) was formed in 1969 to rid blacks of both psychological (the so-called 'slave mentality') as well as physical oppression. In 1972, as a result of the wide proliferation and acceptance of BC philosophy, an umbrella organization the Black People's Convention (BPC) was founded. However, the government began to clamp down on the BC movement and most leading members of both SASO and BPC were banned in 1974. In September 1977 Steve Biko died while under police detention and shortly afterwards all BC organizations were banned.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.