By Athi Mongezeleli Joja
The emergence of the discourse on “decolonisation” from within local struggles has engulfed South Africa. As if scrambling for a new figure to fill in a void, political parties, prestigious institutions and so on, undertook pilgrimages to the grave of Steve Biko, writing papers, holding conferences, and others, holding massive rallies ostensibly to honour Steve Biko in an attempt to appropriate his ideas and the philosophy of black consciousness (BC).
There were also those who returned to him and BC for purposes to delegitimise him. Equally, there are those who defended Biko, but only as if it were an institutionalised fetish.
However, the overbearing remembrance and popularization of Biko, more than anything, has had all the antics of misrepresentation. A form of re-murdering Biko whilst shouting “Biko Lives!”
This year marks the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Steve Biko. Attempts are afoot once more to capture Biko and BC for anti-black political manoeuvres. It appears appropriate and indeed more timely than before, for New Frank Talk (NFT) to make this special call to all legitimate adherents of Biko and BC to provide theoretical and political defenses of Biko and BC against distortions and usurpations by anti-BC formations and practices. This calls is for B.C. thinkers to ruminate on topics and themes that have engulfed the contemporary political situation and its questionable use of black radical thought.
Mourning the death of Biko, this call, however, paradoxically seeks to reaffirm the living legacy of his black consciousness – its refusal of death and its rejection of distortions – as revolutionary thought and praxis.
Writers are invited to meditated inter alia on the following themes:
i) Black Consciousness and the Freedom Charter: Can one be both simultaneously?
ii) Can one be BC and give political power to a party of white supremacy? A meditation on the EFF and DA coalition.
iii) Was Biko a non-racialist?
iv) Why are anti-BC formations associating themselves with BC and Biko?
v) Is BC anti women’s liberation?
vi) BC and scientific socialism: a contradiction in terms.
vii) If “94 changed fokol”, what is the correct characterisation of the power the ANC holds?
viii) BC and class analysts.
These are some of the themes that participants can think through but certainly not limited here.
Abstracts of not more than 300 words are to be submitted by end of 29 Febuary 2017. The approved essays shall be between 2000 and 6000 words. Drafts expected end April and publication to be launched in June 2017.
E-mail abstracts to [email protected] with the heading: NFT submission.
Editors of the NFT series are Andile Mngxitama and Athi Joja.