home Featured, News BLF-SM presents: UMHLABA!NOW


August/September 2016

The BLACK FIRST LAND FIRST-STUDENT MOVEMENT (BLF-SM) dedicates this issue of UMHLABA!NOW to the legacies of STEVE BANTU BIKO who died on 12th September 1977 and the MARIKANA MINERS who died in August 2012.

Drawing from, inter alia, these revolutionary legacies, BLF-SM is determined to achieve its strategic objective of realizing FREE BLACK CENTERED SOCIALIST EDUCATION via decolonizing the university in the context of decolonizing the country and indeed the whole world. To this end we acknowledge that racism including anti black education is premised on colonial land theft and that it can only be eliminated through the return of the land to the black majority.

BLF-SM is a Pan-Afrikanist, Black Consciousness (BC) revolutionary movement. It is informed by a Sankarist Leadership ethos & draws its inspiration from SANKOFA wisdom. BLF-SM recognises BC as the diagnosis & cure for the oppression of black people. To this end Steve Biko gives clear guidance. The following extracts from his essay, “We Blacks” in “I Write What I Like” are instructive:


“Born shortly before 1948, I have lived all my conscious life in the framework of institutionalised separate development. My friendships, my love, my education, my thinking and every other facet of my life have been carved and shaped within the context of separate development. In stages during my life I have managed to outgrow some of the things the system taught me. Hopefully what I propose to do now is to take a look at those who participate in opposition to the system – not from a detached point of view but from the point of view of a black man, conscious of the urgent need for an understanding of what is involved in the new approach – ‘black consciousness’. …

One should not waste time here dealing with manifestations of material want of the black people. A vast literature has been written on this problem. Possibly a little should be said about spiritual poverty. What makes the black man fail to tick? Is he convinced of his own accord of his inabilities? Does he lack in his genetic make-up that rare quality that makes a man willing to die for the realisation of his aspirations? Or is he simply a defeated person? The answer to this is not a clearcut one. It is, however, nearer to the last suggestion than anything else. The logic behind white domination is to prepare the black man for the subservient role in this country. Not so long ago this used to be freely said in parliament even about the educational system of the black people. It is still said even today, although in a much more sophisticated language. 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 dehumanisation has advanced. …

All in all the black man has become a shell, a shadow of man, completely defeated, drowning in his own misery, a slave, an ox bearing the yoke of oppression with sheepish timidity.

This is the first truth, bitter as it may seem, that we have to acknowledge before we can start on any programme designed to change the status quo. It becomes more necessary to see the truth as it is if you realise 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. This is what we mean by an inward-looking process. This is the definition of “Black Consciousness”.

One writer makes the point that in an effort to destroy completely the structures that had been built up in the African Society and to impose their imperialism with an unnerving totality the colonialists were not satisfied merely with holding a people in their grip and emptying the Native’s brain of all form and content, they turned to the past of the oppressed people and distorted, disfigured and destroyed it. …

No wonder the African child learns to hate his heritage in his days at school. So negative is the image presented to him that he tends to find solace only in close identification with the white society.

No doubt, therefore, 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. …

It is probably necessary at this stage to warn all and sundry about the limits of endurance of the human mind. This is particularly necessary in the case of the African people. Ground for a revolution is always fertile in the presence of absolute destitution. At some stage one can foresee a situation where black people will feel they have nothing to live for and will shout unto their God “Thy will be done.” Indeed His will shall be done but it shall not appeal equally to all mortals for indeed we have different versions of His will. If the white God has been doing the talking all along, at some stage the black God will have to raise His voice and make Himself heard over and above noises from His counterpart. What happens at that stage depends largely on what happens in the intervening period. “Black consciousness” therefore seeks to give positivity in the outlook of the black people to their problems. It works on the knowledge that “white hatred” is negative, though understandable, and leads to precipitate and shot-gun methods which may be disastrous for black and white alike. It seeks to channel the pent-up forces of the angry black masses to meaningful and directional opposition basing its entire struggle on realities of the situation. It wants to ensure a singularity of purpose in the minds of the black people and to make possible total involvement of the masses in a struggle essentially theirs. …

Thus in all fields “Black Consciousness” seeks to talk to the black man in a language that is his own. It is only by recognising the basic set-up in the black world that one will come to realise the urgent need for a re-awakening of the sleeping masses. Black consciousness seeks to do this. Needless to say it shall have to be the black people themselves who shall take care of this programme for indeed Sekou Toure was right when he said: “To take part in the African revolution, it is not enough to write a revolutionary song; you must fashion the revolution with the people. And if you fashion it with the people, the songs will come by themselves and of themselves”.

In order to achieve real action you must yourself be a living part of Africa and of her thought; you must be an element of that popular energy which is entirely called forth for the freeing, the progress and the happiness of Africa. There is no place outside that fight for the artist or for the intellectual who is not himself concerned with, and completely at one with the people in the great battle of Africa and of suffering humanity.”

(Source: Biko S “I write what I like” (Picardo Africa an imprint of Macmillan South Africa 2004)


“If you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon you my fellow women. We will fight the white men.” Yaa Asantewaa


The year 2012 saw the ANC government, in alliance with the mining thieves, kill black people for standing up against the vicious exploitative system that renders black people modern day slaves in the mining industry. The same slave-like system is experienced by black people around the world. In the United States of America, every 28 hours a black person is killed at the hands of the police. Across the townships of South Africa (Khayelitsha, Manenburg, KwaMashu, Soweto) the war on black life persists. We thus recall the words of our African American cadre Omar Ricks, when he says, “The only difference between you and I, is my ancestors were taken on slave-ships and yours weren’t.” We remember those who lost their lives in Afrika, our home, as well as in the diaspora because of the evil white-supremacist system. We remember those who resist and fight the system; from Marikana, North West, South Africa to Maryland, Baltimore, USA, where Korryn Gaines, in the spirit of Yaa Asantewaa, defended her family, and was killed by the anti-black police.


BLF will continue to call for justice for the #BLF26 as well as demand that the Public Protector conclude and release the report relating to the R26 billion stolen by whites at the end of apartheid. The call for the R26 billion is directly connected to the call for free education, as the money must go to the unemployed youth, skills development and to cover outstanding student debt.


Currently the Student Representative Council’s (SRCs) nationally have aligned themselves with government & the management of academic institutions in a bid to side track the call for Free Black Centered Socialist Education. The ANC government has indicated that it intends to increase fees by 6%. We want to say it clearly! ASINAMALI! We do not want 6%! We don’t want 0%! We want FREE BLACK CENTERED SOCIALIST EDUCATION!

In the same way as the struggle for free education was co-opted, the call for INSOURCING NOW has been met with hostility and conniving backhanded deals across institutions including Wits University where the termination of contracts & reduction in salaries has become normal.

This same university management who have been swift to crush the worker & student struggles, has resisted any sort of action, to put an end to the sickening normalisation of rape-culture, or to respond to both reported & unreported rape on campuses across the country. In most instances management has rather sought to hide the statistical analysis of rape, pretending as if it does not happen, so as to remove the stigma that would be attached to the institution. University management has made it clear that as with all forms of oppression within the white-supremacist anti-black order; patriarchy, classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, ableism will not be responded to and so the onus to #EndRapeCulture rests with us who envisage a new society.

We further note the violence of the state in collaboration with private security companies & university management, who have been singling out workers and students. Expulsions, Interdicts, Suspensions, Academic and Financial Expulsions & Dismissals persist.

We thus support the call for a #ShackvilleTRC premised on justice for all students & workers who are victims of this ongoing brutality in this multifaceted tertiary institution struggle. It is also an indictment on the hypocrisy of those who laud the 1996 TRC process that allowed whites to escape with our land, yet when we call for justice for students & workers, the very same voices are silent.

“If we are not intersectional, some of us, the most vulnerable, are going to fall through the cracks.” Kimberle Crenshaw


1) Free Education – No student should pay for education, including all human requirements (housing, food etc.) & all unemployed persons should register now.
2) End Outsourcing Now – In-source all workers, pay living wage with full employee benefits.
3) Shut down all campus’ nationwide – No campus should be allowed to function if we are refused Free Black Centred Socialist Education, Insourcing of Workers, a living wage with full employee benefits; restoring all victimised students & workers, and recognising Students and Workers as the highest decision makers.
4) Justice for the #BLF26 & Release report regarding stolen R26Billion – Drop all charges against the BLF26. Release the report into R26billion stolen from the South African Reserve Bank at the end of apartheid.
5) Justice for Marikana – Arrest Ramaphosa, Lonmin bosses & all those who collaborated in the murder of Marikana Miners. Lonmin to pay reparations to the families and declare a living wage for all, in their honour.

We conclude with a letter from Assata Shakur, written to Rhodes Must Fall in 2015. It should be read in the spirit of revolution by all who embrace the fight for Black Liberation.


“From: BlackPanther
Sent: Thursday, March 26, 2015 12:02 AM
To: Rhodes Must Fall
Subject: Message from an international sister
Dear Brother

I have been watching with great interest your revolution unfolding in Cape Town. My soul, the soul of the Afrikan, longs to be with you at your time of emancipation from a legacy of slavery at the hands of the white man.

My name is Assata Olugbala Shakur. I am an escaped slave from the 21st century. Because of government persecution, I was left with no other choice than to flee from the political repression, racism and violence that dominate the US government’s policy towards people of color. I am an ex political prisoner, and I have been living in exile in Cuba since 1984. I have been a political activist most of my life, and although the U.S. government has done everything in its power to criminalize me, I am not a criminal, nor have I ever been one. In the 1960s, I participated in various struggles: the black liberation movement, the student rights movement, and the movement to end the war in Vietnam. I joined the Black Panther Party. By 1969 the Black Panther Party had become the number one organization targeted by the FBI’s COINTELPRO program. because the Black Panther Party demanded the total liberation of black people, J. Edgar Hoover called it “greatest threat to the internal security of the country” and vowed to destroy it and its leaders and activists.

I have one message for you and your comrades. Do not be naïve about the mind of the white person – it has been taught since birth to believe in its superiority, and to believe that the Afrikan child must labor and toil so that his wealth and power can drop into his hands like rain from heaven. The European is not your friend. The liberal European may pretend to be your friend, and she may even contrive to denigrate herself in front of you to show that she belongs amongst Afrikans. When the powerful turn their guns on you, that person will leave you behind.

Throughout history, the person of color has had her back whipped by the white man. Our Afrikan hearts have been penetrated by white bullets. Our souls have been sliced by their spears. At Sharpeville, your brothers were mowed down by the white man, the same white man who holds you in captivity now, in his game of educational mind-colonization.

The longer you and your comrades think about it, the closer you will come to the realization that for too long, the Afrikan has not fought back. For centuries, we have endured beatings, only to never raise our fists. We remain in subjugation, talking, listening, debating, but nothing ever changes. The only thing left to do is to fight centuries of fire with fire. If we are unwilling to riot, unwilling to show our anger by damaging the property of the white man, and unwilling to blow up signs of colonialist terror without the permission of the white man, then we remain plantation slaves shovelling pig shit while the white lady sips tea. She promises freedom “one day”, and says that it must “come naturally”. It never does, until the Afrikan slave uses his force to break the shackles and obtain emancipation for himself.

I am sure I do not have to be this explicit, but I will be in case I have not made myself clear. You and your comrades have hands. Use them. Pull down the statue. If it doesn’t come down, think of something else.

All power to the people!

Assata Olugbala Shakur”



Black First Land First Email:[email protected]
Zanele Lwana: +27 79 486 9087
Lindsay Maasdorp: +27 79 915 2957 |[email protected]
Facebook: Black First Land First | Twitter: @black1st land1st
Website: www.blf.org.za

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