Biko: A Biography

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9780624054139by Xolela Mangcu

The first comprehensive biography of an exceptional and inspirational leader who changed South African history. As leading anti-apartheid activist and thinker, Biko created Black Consciousness, which has resonance to this day. His death by torture, at the hands of the police, robbed South Africa of one of its most gifted leaders. Biko’s intellectual legacy cannot be overestimated.

The chapters include:

-Self-respect and dignity as twin themes of Biko’s thinking
-Biko’s childhood in Ginsberg; his father’s early death and his relationship with his brother
-Lovedale College, discovering politics – and expulsion
-Biko’s student years in Durban, his disillusion with white left politics and dalliances with women
-SASO and Black Consciousness, new thinking on old problems — moving towards radicalism
-The awkward issues of gender and sexism, Biko’s wife Ntsiki and his relationship with Mamphela Ramphele
-Biko’s impact on the student uprising of June 1976
-Dissension in the ranks
-The King William’s Town years: Starting a health project and defiance. Biko’s death.
-After Biko – his impact and the problems in current South African politics.

Xolela Mangcu is an internationally respected analyst and commentator and often quoted in South African media. Based at the University of Cape Town, he is a non-resident Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. He was Executive Director of the Human Sciences Research Council and has held fellowships at Harvard University; the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Rockefeller Foundation. He also chairs the prestigious Sunday Times Alan Paton Awards.

Mangcu has written weekly columns for the Sunday Independent, Business Day and the Weekender, and is a guest analyst for the BBC, CNN and Al-Jazeera. He has authored and co-authored six books, the latest Becoming Worthy Ancestors: Archive, Identity and Public Deliberation in Democratic South Africa.

The Sunday Times has called Mangcu ‘possibly the most prolific public intellectual in South Africa.’ Peter Vale, professor of humanities at the University of Johannesburg described him as ‘the most interesting, certainly the most engaging voice amongst the new generation of public intellectuals in South Africa.’

Mangcu grew up alongside Steve Biko and in writing this book is fulfilling a life’s dream.

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