Remembering Biko

A protest song against ‘apartheid'

Stephen Biko was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s. He died from injuries inflicted upon him by his captors at Pretoria prison on September 12, 1977. One year later, in 1978, English rock musician Peter Gabriel wrote the song ‘Biko’ in remembrance of the deceased and as a protest song against the ‘apartheid’ regime.

September '77, Port Elizabeth, weather fine It was business as usual In police room 619
Oh Biko, Biko,…. the man is dead…. and the eyes of the world are watching now, watching now

The song was included in Peter Gabriel’s third solo album ‘Peter Gabriel’ (1980).

On June 11, 1988, Gabriel performed ‘Biko’ live at the ‘Nelson Mandela 70 Birthday Tribute’ concert at Wembley Stadium, London, UK. The concert was broadcasted in more than 67 countries and reached an estimated audience of more than 600 million people. Needless to say, the impact was huge and Gabriel’s rendition of ‘Biko’ together with Simple Minds and Youssou N’dour was pivotal...

It would take 2 more years for Nelson Mandela to be released from prison on February 11, 1990 Many more years would pass before the racist system of ‘apartheid’ was officially abolished, and the struggle for which Stephen Biko and many others had given their lives ended…

And the eyes of the world are still watching…

And therefore we should remember Stephen Biko.

Stephen Biko (December 18, 1946 – September 12, 1977)

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