By Andile Mngxitama
Steve Biko systematized black radical thought in South Africa (SA) into Black Consciousness (BC). Like most thinkers Biko didn’t invent the ideas that he had called BC, he merely systematized them.
Lots of people who resist giving Biko his place as supreme thinker on the black condition have no problem granting Karl Marx the honor of being the originator of the body of thought called Marxism; or similarly granting V.I Lenin or Mao Zedong honor for their respective contributions.
BC, like Marxism, borrows ideas from everywhere but makes them applicable to either a given philosophical field or particular social order. Biko is explicit about his intellectual and idealogical lineage. He references almost all black radical history and thought. He takes from the legacies of the African anti colonial warriors to the experiences diaspora. He leans a lot on Frantz Fanon and took the moniker BLACK CONSCIOUSNESSES directly from the USA. The modern coinage is often credited to Stokely Carmichael (Kwame Ture).
BC is a very specific formal philosophical perspective that is steeped in blackness. It’s certainly not just a common sense consideration. Neither is it a mere conglomerate of words.
Grant Biko his place!
I remain a Bikoist!
Andile Mngxitama is the President of Black First Land First (BLF), a radical black consciousness organization.