Wednesday, 17 August 2011

I Write What I Like

Edited by Aelred Stubbs, C.R.

"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." Like all of Steve Biko's writings, those words testify to the passion, courage, and keen insight that made him one of the most powerful figures in South Africa's struggle against apartheid. They also reflect his conviction that black people in South Africa could not be liberated until they united to break their chains of servitude, a key tenet of the Black Consciousness movement that he helped found.

I Write What I Like contains a selection of Biko's writings from 1969, when he became the president of the South African Students' Organization, to 1972, when he was prohibited from publishing. The collection also includes a preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; an introduction by Malusi and Thoko Mpumlwana, who were both involved with Biko in the Black Consciousness movement; a memoir of Biko by Father Aelred Stubbs, his longtime pastor and friend; and a new foreword by Professor Lewis Gordon.

“This collection of pieces by Steve Biko documents in journey from president of the South African Students’ Organization to influential member of South Africa’s Black Consciousness Movement. The collection contains letters, papers, interviews, articles, and speeches Biko wrote and presented during a three-year period. The issues covered include African culture, black consciousness, and racial politics relating to apartheid. Also included is a memoir of the editor’s personal experiences with Biko.”—International Journal of African Historical Studies

"It is good that there is this new edition to enable us to savour the inspired words of Steve Biko—perhaps it could just spark a black renaissance."—Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from the Preface

“[Biko’s] movement fundamentally reordered the objectives of the populist struggles against white oppression in South Africa, which during the 1950s and early 1960s had been largely limited to the formal political realm. . . . I Write What I Like is still relevant today because it confronts a central paradox facing contemporary South African society: that of endorsing cultural differences while embracing a cohesive national culture. . . . [Biko] was able to see the complexities and searing paradoxes confronting South Africa, and he had the fortitude and intellect to construct a formidable response. . . . I Write What I Like stands as a prescient discussion of the dilemmas cause by racial and class exploitation. So it is likely to remain as one of the most important collections of political essays in the history of South Africa, if not the continent.”—Brendan D. Works, Journal of Modern African Studies

Click here to download this book in pdf and click here to read Lewis Gordon's new introduction to this book.