Ramaphosa to Honour Steve Biko on 41st Anniversary of his Death


12th September 1977: Today marks the 41st anniversary for the killing of Steve Biko

Name:                     BIKO, Steve

Date of Death:      12 September 1977

Held:                       Port Elizabeth and died in Pretoria

Cause:                     Brain injury during scuffle with police

Age:                        30


Johannesburg – President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the 19th annual Steve Biko memorial lecture in commemoration of the 41st anniversary of the Black Consciousness leader’s death in police custody.

The announcement was made by the founder and executive trustee of the Steve Biko Foundation, Nkosinathi Biko and the Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Unisa, Professor Mandla Makhanya this morning.

The lecture will be held at the ZK Matthews Great Hall at Unisa’s Muckleneuk Campus in Pretoria next Friday.

Biko was murdered at the Pretoria Central Prison on September 12, 1977 but the lecture will be held two days later to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Steve Biko Foundation.

Ramaphosa is a former member of the South African Students Organisation (SASO) – which Biko was its founding president.

The President was also a member of the Students’ Christian Movement (SCM) and the Black People’s Convention (BPC).

President Ramaphosa was a student at the University of the North (Turfloop) – one of the heartlands of the Black Consciousness Movement in the 1970’s – where he studied for a B Proc degree. He joined the South African Students Organization (SASO) in 1972 and was one of the organisers of the pro-Frelimo rally at Turfloop in 1974. 

Consequently detained for 11 months under section 6 of the Terrorism Act for his activism, and after graduating with a degree in law, Ramaphosa continued his political activism through the Black People’s Convention (BPC), holding posts on various committees. 

In 1981 Ramaphosa joined the black consciousness-oriented Council of Unions of South Africa (CUSA) as an advisor in the legal department. He later led the formation of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

“As the Foundation marks 20 years of its existence, and in line with our institutional tradition of heads of state delivering the Lecture to mark significant milestones, President Ramaphosa will explore the importance of guiding the national and international transformation through self-reliance and personal commitment”, Biko said.