Cape Town – The 19th Annual Steve Biko Memorial Lecture currently underway at UNISA was disrupted briefly as the keynote speaker President Cyril Ramaphosa was about to deliver his address. The group which calls itsef the ‘Azanian Women’ went on stage carrying placards with inscribed with the words ‘Blood Shed’, ‘Biko Foundation, How dare you sies’. Shortly thereafter, the group released a statement explaining that their actions were in defense of the 34 dead Marikana mine workers whom they argue were killed on instructions from Ramaphosa on behalf of white capital.
The group has accused the Steve Biko Foundation of ‘pissing’ on the legacy of Steve Biko by trying to “incorporate him in the 1994 sell-out project”.
Read the full statement below:
Azanian Women Remember Marikana!
Azanian Women Remember Biko!
Powerful people and institutions have escaped the wrath of Black people, who are often poor and women or both for far too long. This state of affairs has determined the way in which events in our history are remembered or passed on to generations of those who remain landless, exploited and excluded. We are young black women who refuse to bear passive witness to this blatant disrespect and ridicule of Black radical politics and by extension, Black life in this country.
Forty-One years after the brutal killing of the father of Black Consciousness, Bantu Stephen Biko, 34 black men were murdered by the South African police in Marikana for protesting against death trap salaries that plague Black families today. Marikana is a painful reminder of the consequences of the suspended Azanian revolution. They were murdered by those who protect a system that continues to privilege profit making companies at the expense of black bodies such as themselves. Black bodies who continue to toil for white capital in our so called rainbow nation. Their death was on behalf of people such as President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was a non-executive director of the Lonmin mining company at the time. A director who took it upon himself to write a series of emails calling for “concomitant action” against the striking mine workers.
And yet Mr death by email Ramaphosa, who has been rewarded with a Presidency for his crimes by the African National Congress, is now washing the blood off his hands by posing as someone who could memorialise Biko. Biko was murdered by the Apartheid police for being an individual who stood with the collective and dared to speak truth to power. He was murdered for resisting unjust laws that continue to create black people as the under dogs in their very own land of birth. Today we understand those police forces to have killed him in order to protect a system that privileged whites over the majority of blacks. To have been killed on behalf of a State that ordered the disappearance of any sort of resistance to its illegitimate claims.
We stand to question how Biko’s legacy is remembered, lest we allow detractors of the Azanian revolution to misrepresent, distort and ultimately discard it. Furthermore, it is our duty to defend the legacy of the Marikana workers who were put down like animals on that Koppie in August 2012. It is in this spirit that our protest action, which is guided by Black Consciousness and Pan Afrikanist ideals that those in power seek to undermine is located. We find it an insult to the lives and legacies of so many Black men and women who laboured to define and organise themselves under the banner of BCPA for the Steve Biko Foundation to invite a mass murderer and a man who, together with his political party, presides and governs over landlessness and neo-colonialism to speak on the memory of Biko. The Biko Foundation has been pissing on the memory of Steve Biko since the dawn of this so called democracy and trying to incorporate him in the 1994 sell-out project. We’re saying enough now!
Ramaphosa, you may have been emboldened by the politics of the South African School of Thought which have captured majority of our people, to think that you can in 2018, stand in front of us and dare speak Biko’s name – a man who stood against everything you have become since your days in the Student movement. Asikuthumanga. Awuthumekivele. Today, we stand against power and boldly declare that Azanian Women Remember Marikana! That Azanian women remember Biko! Ramaphoyisa – the women of Marikana which you and your co-conspirators made widows, are still waiting on you! The working class people of this nation are still waiting on you! Black students across South African technikons and universities are still waiting on you! APLA soldiers still languishing in prison are waiting on you! The women of this country who step over the blood of their sisters and children wondering when they are next are waiting on you!
This is a clarion call to all Azanian people to stand up in unison and declare that we will not forget and we will protest with what is left of our bodies to free ourselves from this cruelty.