Steve Biko (Civil Rights Leader)

Steve Biko

Bantu Stephen Biko was a South African anti-apartheid activist. Ideologically an African nationalist and African socialist, he was at the forefront of a grassroots anti-apartheid campaign known as the Black Consciousness Movement during the late 1960s and 1970s. His ideas were articulated in a series of articles published under the pseudonym Frank Talk. Raised in a poor Xhosa family, Biko grew up in Ginsberg township in the Eastern Cape. In 1966, he began studying medicine at the University of Natal, where he joined the National Union of South African Students. Strongly opposed to the apartheid system of racial segregation and white-minority rule in South Africa, Biko was frustrated that NUSAS and other anti-apartheid groups were dominated by white liberals, rather than by the blacks who were most affected by apartheid. He believed that well-intentioned white liberals failed to comprehend the black experience and often acted in a paternalistic manner.

Born: Bantu Stephen Biko, December 18, 1946, Tarkastad, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Died: September 12, 1977, Pretoria, South Africa
Occupation: Anti-apartheid activist
Organization: South African Students’ Organisation, Black People’s Convention
Spouse(s): Ntsiki Mashalaba
Partner(s): Mamphela Ramphele
Children: 5, including Hlumelo Biko
IMDb: Steve Biko’s IMDb

About Steve Biko

Civil rights leader who worked as an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, and the leader/founder of the BCM.

Before Fame

He founded the Black Consciousness Movement while a student activist at the University of Natal Medical School.


He was banned by the apartheid regime in February 1973 and it became forbidden for anyone to quote anything he said, including speeches or simple conversations.

Family Life

He married Ntsiki Mashalaba in 1970 and had two children with her.


He is portrayed by Denzel Washington in the 1987 British drama film Cry Freedom.

Information related to Steve Biko

  • Steve Biko affair
  • South African Christians
  • South African revolutionaries
  • Black Consciousness Movement
  • South African people who died in prison custody
  • Assassinated South African politicians
  • Prisoners who died in South African detention
  • South African prisoners and detainees
  • South African pan-Africanists
  • Victims of police brutality
  • 20th-century Christians
  • University of Natal alumni
  • South African writers
  • South African activists
  • Xhosa people
  • Anti-apartheid activists

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Latest information about Steve Biko updated on September 11, 2020.

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