Feature

Why we dishonor a national hero.

The week's news at a glance.

South Africa

Xolela MangcuBusiness Day

South Africa has failed to honor one of its greatest leaders, said Xolela Mangcu in Johannesburg’s Business Day. Stephen Biko and his Black Consciousness Movement were the driving force behind the Soweto Uprising of 1976, the event that awakened the rest of the world to the horrors of apartheid. After police bludgeoned Biko to death the following year, his name became a synonym for resistance to oppression. Americans and Europeans honored his memory through songs and movies. But the current South African government, dominated by the African National Congress party, has yet to give Biko any posthumous honor. Our “mean-spirited leaders” pretend “that the ANC is the only movement that sacrificed for the liberation of our country.” The ANC’s petty insistence on maintaining this lie “makes it impossible for us to tell the full story of our heritage.” Biko would not have been so selfish. Like Nelson Mandela, he was devoted to equality for all, not personal glory. And also like Mandela, he was almost always photographed smiling. Are there no such “generous leaders in the ANC” anymore?

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