Text: Sane Sunyshine Sihiya
Cover Art: R Mangaope
It is an undeniable fact that we have certainly travelled a milestone since the original concept of Black Consciousness was introduced and written by the late legendary social activist, Steven Bantu Biko, in his piece, I Write What I Like. The description as social activist is preferred, to political activist simply because, there seems to be the forever present political affiliation’s notion. We seem to be more invested in ‘which party’ a person belongs to than what they believe in. It could be substantially argued that Biko was more invested in communicating the ideals he believed in, than the association with political parties. The title of the book on its own is already sufficient evidence in affirming and highlighting the idea that, he was a man ready and willing to stand and express what he believed in.
He lived in an era where black Africans were forbidden certain things, definitely the freedom of speech and expression hence even the formal laws against Africans to vote. One can still perhaps even question the contemporary state in this regard, that is, do Africans now freely possess the right to express themselves? Are there structural measures intrinsic deep in the system, which serve as a hindrance towards self-expression? Also even more imperative, are the black African people utilizing, to the maximum, the liberty to express themselves in terms of what they believe in and stand for? Have they taken for granted the basic right of freedom of speech and expression of which many paid with their blood and lives for its attainment? As the late supreme Solomon Mahlangu once said that, his blood would nourish the trees of freedom. Are black people aware of this, not only aware but do they have a full, clear comprehension of this school of thought. These are the instances where all one has, is hope! We hope so.
The concept of black consciousness, one may argue to a certain extent, has become much commercialised. It has forfeited its fundamentally, intended values which include empowering and instilling black consciousness for black people in particular, to realise their worth in all platforms and all capacities. For them to have sufficient mental state to combat any external forces that desire to make them believe otherwise about themselves. It is an ideology set to mentally equip.
One may argue of course that, the need for mental equipment in the contemporary world doesn’t exclusively apply to black people! It is necessary for the world in its entirety. We are moving towards an era where thinking is not encouraged nor found pleasurable! An era where uninformed assimilation is preferred and promoted! This worldly trend is certainly an anti-device to the progress of black consciousness.
Because of his intelligence, Biko managed to spot this many years ago! He saw that the concept of black consciousness should not necessarily be exclusive to blacks, because of the huge need for the human species to be conscious of who they are, what they do, what they stand for and what they actually want to be.
We need to return to black consciousness uncensored! We need to revisit this concept to work in our best interest. We need to disseminate this concept and this can be done through the vigorous engagement and analysis of concepts and ideals. These include the concept of Liberty, Race and Class, Human Rights and Gender, Feminism, the role of Media and Education.
It is the author’s humble beliefs that a thorough modern, dynamic analysis of the above, is what is required towards an effective return to black consciousness failing which,
“Black Man You Are on Your Own”.
*This is an extract from, Uncensored Black Consciousness: The Return by Sane Sane Sunyshine Sihiya. For purchase queries and further information please contact Sane @ Sihiyas@gmail.com