Stephen Bantu Biko

12 September 1977 – 18 December 1946

Being black is not a matter of pigmentation – being black is a reflection of a mental attitude.

The Definition of Black Consciousness, I Write What I Like, 1978.

Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) leader, South Africa’s most influential and radical student leader in the 1970s and a law student at the time of his death. He became a martyr of the Freedom Struggle and posed one of the strongest challenges to the apartheid structure in the country.  Biko was murdered on 12 September 1977, in a Pretoria detention cells.

Due to local and international outcry his death prompted an inquest which at first did not adequately reveal the circumstances surrounding his death. Police alleged that he died from a hunger strike and independent sources said he was brutally murdered by police. Although his death was attributed to “a prison accident,” evidence presented during the 15-day inquest into Biko’s death revealed otherwise. During his detention in a Port Elizabeth police cell he had been chained to a grill at night and left to lie in urine-soaked blankets. He had been stripped naked and kept in leg-irons for 48 hours in his cell. A blow in a scuffle with security police led to him suffering brain damage by the time he was driven naked and manacled in the back of a police van to Pretoria, where he died.




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Filed under CONTINENTAL AFRICA, Human Rights, Pan Africanism | Afrocentrism | Africana Studies, Police Abuse|Brutality|Killings, Political Ideology, racism, white supremacy

A West African Night | Sponsored by CPRC

The African Awareness Workgroup of the Carolina Peace Resource Center presents:    

A West African Night

Friday, November 6, 2009 @6:00-9:00 pm

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Columbia at 2701 Heyward Street, Columbia, SC.  Cost: $8 per person (save $1/person that you invite).

The African Awareness Workgroup of the Carolina Peace Resource Center will present an evening of cultural discussions led by Columbia residents who have traveled to or lived in countries in West Africa.  The evening will include West African drumming, musical entertainment by Love’s Lotus, and an authentic West African dinner.Profits from these events are used to present future event focusing on peace and justice issues in Africa.

West African masks contributed by Lamb’s Bread Restaurant will be on display (Lamb’s Bread, located at 2338 Main Street, serves delicious vegan dishes) as well as photography by Vinnie Deas-Moore.

Africa MapThe event is part of a continuing series on African peace and justice issues presented by the African Awareness Workgroup of the Carolina Peace Resource Center.  Previous events have focused on health care justice in Kenya, military repression of the pro-democracy movement in Guinea, life in rural Mali and efforts to obtain clean drinking water, and retracing the slave routes of Ghana


PO Box 7933
Columbia, SC 29202
United States

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Filed under Actions | Events, American Progressive Politics, Conferences, CONTINENTAL AFRICA, Friends & Comrades, Pan Africanism | Afrocentrism | Africana Studies

A letter from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe

Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tsvangirai

On February 11, 2009, I took an oath as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe to work relentlessly to create a society where values are stronger than the threat of violence, where the future happiness of children is more important than partisan political goals and where a person is free to express an opinion, loudly, openly and publicly, without fear of reprisal or repression.

To create a country where jobs are available for those who wish to work, food is available for those who are hungry and where we are united by our respect for the rights and dignity of our fellow citizens.

This is the country we are working to build and although Zimbabwe is not yet a democracy, it is on its way to becoming one. Our success on this journey will depend on this new, transitional Government, our people and the international partners who will work with us to realise this vision for our country.

The political agreement that lead to the formation of this new Government is not perfect. I have stated my concerns on many occasions, as has President Mugabe.

I have also stated that it is a workable agreement and by that I mean that it can help to alleviate the suffering of the Zimbabwean people and allow the country to move forward peacefully to a new constitution and fresh elections.

With regard to the former, the new Government has already made small but significant progress. We have started paying civil servants a monthly allowance to allow the public sector to begin working again and provide an essential stimulus to the economy. We have overseen the opening of hospitals and schools, the taming of hyperinflation, the lowering of prices of basic commodities and the rationalisation of utility tariffs. Most importantly, this new political dispensation has delivered hope to a country devoid of optimism or expectation.

These achievements are a fraction of what the country requires to start functioning normally again. It was, however, the knowledge that we could make an immediate and positive impact on the lives of all Zimbabweans that guided my party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to enter the agreement brokered by the regional Southern African Development Community.

As I write this article, I know that we made the correct decision. The past six weeks have proved what we are able to do, not just as a party, but as part of an inclusive Government. For, in deciding to embrace the political pragmatism of our regional neighbours, we entered this administration in the spirit of the agreement, embracing its inclusivity and abiding by its letter with regard to the implementation of the transitional measures it contains.

Before entering this Government, we knew that most public servants, and Zimbabweans from all walks of life, were desperate for the positive commitments that the agreement contained. We also knew that elements of the old regime would resist these measures and attempt to obstruct any positive progress.

Happily, we underestimated the number of people who would embrace the opportunities that our country now has, but, sadly, we were correct in allowing for the residual resistance that we are now experiencing from a small faction of non-democratic hardliners.

However, those who try to stand in the way of progress will either realise that it is neither in their personal interests nor the nation’s to continue their obstructionist tendencies, or they will be swept aside by the overwhelming momentum being generated as we move forward as a nation.

This does not mean that the success of this new Government is guaranteed. Today Zimbabwe stands at a critical juncture that requires the MDC to stay true to the ideals upon which it was founded. It requires Zanu (PF) to embrace the commitments of this new agreement and it requires all of its citizens to stand up for their rights as enshrined in the new political agreement. This is also the time for the West to stand by the people of Zimbabwe as they move towards the goal of freedom and prosperity.

I can think of no contemporary example of a people who have stood by their belief in democracy more determinedly, peacefully or bravely than Zimbabweans. Despite a decade of persecution and violent provocation, Zimbabweans have refused to compromise their democratic ideals or their belief in a future of dignity, prosperity and hope by lashing out at their opponents in anger or despair. As Prime Minister and the leader of the largest political party in Zimbabwe, I am immensely proud of my nation and its peoples.

Zimbabweans should not have to pay a further price for their determination to stand by their democratic ideals because the new Government does not meet or match the “clean slate” or “total victory” standards expected by the West. As stated earlier, this new Government is not perfect, but it does represent all Zimbabweans – it is positive, it is peaceful, it is committed to a new constitution and free and fair elections and, with international support, it will succeed.

As Prime Minister, I am responsible for ensuring the formulation of policy by the Cabinet and its implementation by the entire Government. It is my responsibility to ensure that the commitments that this new Government has made to restoring the rule of law, instituting a democratising legislative agenda, ending persecution and freeing the media are implemented in the shortest possible time. In this, the new Government is only now beginning to realise the muscle that it has and to flex that muscle.

The West has been, and continues to be, the most generous provider of humanitarian support, of which all Zimbabweans are aware and grateful for. As a proud nation, we look forward to the day when we can develop our relationship with the West beyond merely being a beneficiary of emergency aid. We want to become a true economic partner and an investment opportunity for those who respect the true value of our natural resources and our sovereignty over them.

Indeed, as the leaders of the G20 meet in London to consider measures to deal with the economic challenges facing their countries, I encourage them to view Zimbabwe and other partners in Africa as investment opportunities with the potential to stimulate their own economic growth.

As Prime Minister, I ask you to work with me and the people of Zimbabwe and to engage with the efforts of our new transitional Government. I ask you to share our vision for our great country, to work with us to rebuild our nation and to walk with us on this promising phase of our journey to a true and lasting democracy for Zimbabwe.

Morgan Tsvangirai

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Lift the Sanctions Campaign

First, let us begin by saying thank you. Thank you for demonstrating to and for African people and the world the courage and conviction that must be had to be self-determining in the face of insurmountable odds. Odds that would have crushed others with any less will to be free.

The road you chose for national liberation, which was carved through your first and second Chimurengas (armed liberation wars), cut an enduring path for us all to follow.

At this moment in time, when all the enemies of Africa have attempted to circle their wagons around you and crush your right to land and sovereignty, your leadership and the veterans of your struggle have rallied you to unite.

The words of one of Africa’s greatest patriots are so fitting to your struggle at this time:

“No brutality, mistreatment, or torture has ever forced me to ask for grace, for I prefer to die with my head high, my faith steadfast, and my confidence profound in the destiny of my country, rather than to live in submission and scorn of sacred principles. History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets. Africa will write its own history, and it will be, to the north and to the south of the Sahara, a history of glory and dignity.”

–Patrice Lumumba’s last letter, December 1960

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Congolese Populist Movement requests meeting with Secretary of State Clinton & UN Ambassador Rice

Co-authored by Linda Milazzo and Georgianne Nienaber

Dear Secretary [Hillary] Clinton and Ambassador [Susan ] Rice;

The humanitarian situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is disintegrating and it is time for the United States to intervene publicly and forcefully. According to report after report from human rights organizations, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), the violence is escalating, and the United Nations does not have enough peacekeeping troops to contain the violence. Already more innocents have died than in the Rwandan genocide of 1994. The world cannot say again that it had no idea of the scope of this disaster. Rwanda can no longer be given a free pass because of its suffering during the genocide, and Rwandan President Paul Kagame must be held accountable for the alliance he has formed with Congolese President Joseph Kabila who is turning a blind eye to the crimes committed against innocent Hutu civilians in eastern Congo.

In an urgent communiqué to independent media, the Congolese National Congress for the Defense of the People (French acronym, CNDP), is asking to meet with you precipitously regarding the Rwandan government’s unwarranted detention of CNDP leader, General Laurent Nkunda, and the corresponding increase in massacres of Congolese civilians since his January 22nd arrest. As documented by Human Rights Watch on February 13, 2009:

“The rebel Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), which includes elements of the Interahamwe responsible for the 1994 Rwandan genocide) brutally slaughtered at least 100 Congolese civilians in the Kivu provinces of eastern Democratic Republic of Congo between January 20 and February 8, 2009.”

“The FDLR have a very ugly past, but we haven’t seen this level of violence in years,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior researcher in the Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “We’ve documented many abuses by FDLR forces, but these are killings of ghastly proportions.”

In addition, Human Rights Watch has accused Rwandan Tutsi elements of the joint “peacekeeping” forces of “having raped several women since the start of operations against the FDLR (Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda).” HRW also said the joint force’s “information-sharing has been scant and too late to permit the UN forces to be able to plan for providing the needed protection” of civilians.

“The Congolese government nominally leads the joint operations against the FDLR, but the coalition troops that attacked the FDLR in Ufamandu were largely soldiers from the Rwandan Defense Forces. These Rwandan soldiers were allegedly responsible for having raped several women since the start of operations against the FDLR,” HRW said.

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