Saturday, 30 July 2011

Black Consciousness as an Expression of Radical Responsbility: Biko as an African Bonhoeffer

by Cornel du Toit, 2008

Black consciousness as personified by Biko represents a radical assumption of individual and collective responsibility. That is the thesis considered in this article. The premises of black consciousness were the total isolation of individuals and the oppressed in general, and not hoping for liberation to come via some outside agency, be it divine or human. As such it represents a motion of no confidence in the assumption that people actively care about their fellow humans (of a different skin colour). Biko was the eagle who kicked out his nestling so that it could learn to fly; he was Zarathustra’s prophet who encouraged the student to surpass his master; he was a Bonhoeffer who told human beings to take responsibility for themselves without hoping for divine intervention. For all these reasons black consciousness may be regarded as a beacon of African renaissance, comparable to the scientific revolution of the Enlightenment and the French and American revolutions.

Click here to download this article in pdf.