The fact is that the role, relevance and contribution of the Black Consciousness philosophy is more warranted now than ever. See, Black Consciousness does not die. It remains relevant even when it is apparently dormant. Its approach and method are always readily available to be used by the oppressed when the need arises to confront particular and universal challenges posed by institutional racism and violence.
The Black Consciousness Reader
Black Consciousness has turned up the heat against oppressive rule, exploitation and racism in South Africa and around the world, as young people and politicians, academics and campaigners reconfigure a global socioeconomic revolution. Long linked with universal freedom movements, Black Consciousness has a particularly profound and proud history in the country that gave birth to Steve Biko.
An intrinsic part of international solidarity actions, it still captures the imagination of resistance fighters young and old. Embracing African liberation, the Black Panthers, Black Power in England, Marxism in the Caribbean and remarkable links even to Mao Tse-tung’s Cultural Revolution, it remains at the centre of struggles for people’s power.
First published in 2017, the year of the 40th anniversary of Biko’s murder by the apartheid regime, The Black Consciousness Reader has been revised and updated as an essential collection of history, interviews and opinions about the philosophy. A contribution to the world’s Black cultural archive, it examines how the proper acknowledgement of Blackness brings a greater love, a broader sweep of heroes and a wider understanding of intellectual and political influences.
Although Biko is a strong figure within this history, the book documents many other significant Black Consciousness personalities and actions, as it predominantly focuses a South African eye on its influence on power, feminism, land, art, music, society and religion.
Keorapetse “bra Willie” Kgositsile and his son, American rap prodigy Earl Sweatshirt are inside it. So too Onkgopotse Tiro, Vuyelwa Mashalaba, a young Nomzamo Winnie Mandela, Bobby Seale, Assata Shakur, Neville Alexander, Thomas Sankara, Walter Rodney, Lefifi Tladi, Ready D, Ntsiki Biko, Nina Simone, Barney Pityana, Zulaikha Patel and many others. It looks at links between K-Pop and Black Consciousness, militancy in Harlem and the uprisings in Soweto, Black theology and the bible’s red commandments.
This amalgam of facts, ideas, images and moving pictures is written and compiled by political journalist Baldwin Ndaba, culture writers Therese Owen and Masego Panyane, columnist and poet Rabbie Serumula, author and political analyst Janet Smith and multimedia specialist and church leader Paballo Thekiso.