40+ Best Steve Biko Quotes: Exclusive Selection

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 in South Africa. Inspirational Steve Biko quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for activist quotes to inspire activism that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of motivational Desmond Tutu quotes, greatest Booker T. Washington quotes, and Toussaint Louverture famous quotes.

Most Famous Steve Biko Quotes

You are either alive and proud or you are dead, and when you are dead, you can’t care anyway. – Steve Biko

I’m going to be me as I am, and you can beat me or jail me or even kill me, but I’m not going to be what you want me to be. – Steve Biko

The most potent weapon of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed. – Steve Biko

It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realize that the only vehicle for change are these people who have lost their personality. The first step therefore is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth. – Steve Biko

Change the way people think and things will never be the same – Steve Biko

I would like to remind the black ministry and indeed all black people that God is not in the habit of coming down from heaven to solve people’s problems on earth. – Steve Biko

In all fields black consciousness seeks to talk to the black man in a language that is his own – Steve Biko

We are experiencing new problems every day and whatever we do adds to the richness of our cultural heritage as long as it has man as its centre – Steve Biko

People must be aware of their problems in a realistic way. They must be able to analyse their problems and to work out common solutions. In other words a community is easily divided when their perception of the same thing is different – Steve Biko

Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude. – Steve Biko

The basic tenet of black consciousness is that the black man must reject all value systems that seek to make him a foreigner in the country of his birth and reduce his basic human dignity. – Steve Biko

When you say ‘Black is beautiful’ you are saying, ‘Man you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being’. – Steve Biko

If one is free at heart, no man-made chains can bind one to servitude. – Steve Biko

The wealth of the country must eventually be enjoyed by people of the country – Steve Biko

Black Consciousness is an attitude of the mind and a way of life, the most positive call to emanate from the black world for a long time. Its essence is the realisation by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression – the blackness of their skin – and to operate as a group to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude. – Steve Biko

At the time of his death, Biko had a wife and three children for which he left a letter that stated in one part: “I’ve devoted my life to see equality for blacks, and at the same time, I’ve denied the needs of my family. Please understand that I take these actions, not out of selfishness or arrogance, but to preserve a South Africa worth living in for blacks and whites. – Steve Biko

So as a prelude whites must be made to realise that they are only human, not superior. Same with Blacks. They must be made to realise that they are also human, not inferior. – Steve Biko

We regard our living together not as an unfortunate mishap warranting endless competition among us but as a deliberate act of God to make us a community of brothers and sisters jointly involved in the quest for a composite answer to the varied problems of life. Hence in all we do we always place man first and hence all our action is usually joint community-oriented action rather than the individualism. – Steve Biko

We have set out on a quest for true humanity, and somewhere on the distant horizon we can see the glittering prize. Let us march forth with courage and determination, drawing strength from our common plight and our brotherhood [and sisterhood]. In time we shall be in a position to bestow upon South Africa the greatest gift possible–a more human face – Steve Biko

A community is easily divide when their perception of the same thing is different – Steve Biko

I am against the fact that a settler minority should impose an entire system of values on an indigenous people. – Steve Biko

What Black Consciousness seeks to do is to produce real black people who do not regard themselves as appendages to white society. We do not need to apologise for this because it is true that the white systems have produced through the world a number of people who are not aware that they too are people. – Steve Biko

A people without a positive history is like a vehicle without an engine. – Steve Biko

Black Consciousness therefore takes cognizance of the deliberateness of God’s plan in creating Black people black. – Steve Biko

If you want to say something radical, you should dress conservative. – Steve Biko

WOMEN must be at the forefront of nation-building to bring the South African citizenry together and, therefore, develop a whole new ethos of human co-existence – Steve Biko

Merely by describing yourself as black you have started on a road towards emancipation, you have committed yourself to fight against all forces that seek to use your blackness as a stamp that marks you out as a subservient being. – Steve Biko

In time, we shall be in a position to bestow on South Africa the greatest possible gift – a more human face. – Steve Biko

The first step therefore is to make the black man come to himself; to pump back life into his empty shell; to infuse him with pride and dignity, to remind him of his complicity in the crime of allowing himself to be misused and therefore letting evil reign supreme in the country of his birth. – Steve Biko

The essence of politics is to direct oneself to the group which wields power – Steve Biko

I think the central theme about black society is that it has got elements of a defeated society – Steve Biko

The logic behind white domination is to prepare the black man for the subservient role in this country. – Steve Biko

Part of the approach envisaged in bringing about Black Consciousness has to be directed to the past, to seek to rewrite the history of the black man and to produce in it the heroes who form the core of the African background – Steve Biko

The system concedes nothing without demand, for it formulates its very method of operation on the basis that the ignorant will learn to know, the child will grow into an adult and therefore demands will begin to be made. It gears itself to resist demands in whatever way it sees fit. – Steve Biko

Any warning normally implies, even if it is tacit, that there should be changes – Steve Biko

The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves. – Steve Biko

We must realise that prophetic cry of black students: Black man you are on your own! – Steve Biko

The great powers of the world may have done wonders in giving the world an industrial and military look but the great gift still has to come from Africa – giving the world a more human face. – Steve Biko

The myth of integration as propounded under the banner of the liberal ideology must be cracked because it makes people believe that something is being achieved when in reality the artificially integrated circles are a soporfic to the blacks while salving the consciences of the few guilt-stricken whites. – Steve Biko

Tradition has it that whenever a group of people has tasted the lovely fruits of wealth, security and prestige it begins to find it more comfortable to believe in the obvious lie and accept that it alone is entitled to privilege. – Steve Biko

The power of a movement lies in the fact that it can indeed change the habits of people. This change is not the result of force but of dedication, of moral persuasion. – Steve Biko

We do not want to be reminded that it is we, the indigenous people, who are poor and exploited in the land of our birth. These are concepts which the Black Consciousness approach wishes to eradicate from the black man’s mind before our society is driven to chaos by irresponsible people from Coca-cola and hamburger cultural backgrounds. – Steve Biko

To a large extent the evil-doers have succeeded in producing at the output end of their machine a kind of black man who is man only in form. This is the extent to which the process of dehumanization has advanced. – Steve Biko

The oneness of community for instance is at the heart of our culture. – Steve Biko

Sure, there are a few good whites just as much as there are a few bad Blacks. However, what we are concerned here with is group attitudes and group politics. The exception does not make a lie or the rule – it merely substantiates it. – Steve Biko

We believe in the inherent goodness of man. – Steve Biko

Black Consciousness is in essence the realization by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression. – Steve Biko

This is white man’s integration, an integration based on exploitative values – Steve Biko

We believe it is the duty of the vanguard political movement which brings change to educate people’s outlook – Steve Biko

Apartheid – both petty and grand – is obviously evil – Steve Biko

Black man, you are on your own. – Steve Biko

It is better to die for an idea that will live, than to live for an idea that will die. – Steve Biko