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Special Report Transcript Episode 1, Section 10, Time 36:35

When one talks about torture and murder in the Eastern Cape how can one not think of Steven Bantu Biko? // No evidence on his death at the hands of police interrogators in 1977 was heard at the Truth Commission because his widow Ntsiki Biko, still prefers a criminal prosecution to the Truth Commission process. In his short lifetime Steve Biko became known as the father of Black Consciousness. // Any changes which are to come can only come as a result of a programme worked out by black people. And for black people to be able to work out a programme they need to defeat the one main element in politics which are working against them and this was a psychological feeling of inferiority. // The history of the last decade of the struggle for liberation would probably have been different had he not died in 1977. On the 18th of August Biko ignored his banning orders and drove to a political meeting. He was arrested at a roadblock and taken to the Sanlam building in Port Elizabeth. He was kept naked and in chains in room 619. Biko sustained serious head injuries during interrogation. In that state and still naked, probably to humiliate him, he was taken by police van to Pretoria. Steve Biko died, naked and on the metal grill on September 14, 1977. The minister of police, Jimmy Kruger, immediately told the world Biko had died after a hunger strike. He later changed that and explained that he had banged his head against the wall. He told an amused National Party congress, ‘I am not glad and I am not sorry about Mr. Biko. It leaves me cold’. The SABC and the Afrikaans press mounted a propaganda campaign to counter the widely held view that Biko was killed by his interrogators. After an inquest that became the laughing stock of the international judicial community, magistrate Marthinus Prins determined that nobody could be held responsible for Biko’s death. But the inquest discredited the medical doctors who examined Biko and had cast a dark shadow over his interrogators: Alfred Oosthuizen, Harold Snyman, Pieter Goosen, Paul Jansen van Vuuren, Henry Fouche, Ruben Marx, WP Siebert, Jakobus Weneke. Nineteen years later Steve Biko’s wife, sons and friends still demand to know which individuals killed one of South Africa’s most talented sons and why they were left unpunished.

Notes: Max du Preez in studio; Photo: Steve Biko; Historical film footage: Steve Biko (1977); Daily Dispatch headline: ‘Biko dies in detention’; Photo: Steve Biko; Photo: Biko’s corpse; Photo: Biko’s funeral; Newspaper clippings: ‘Biko smashed up – counsel’, ‘Police deny assaulting Biko’, Facts clash with Kruger statements’, ‘Steve Biko – and what now?’; Photo: Biko family (wife and sons); Photo: Biko’s son

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Hearing Transcripts TRC Final Report TRC Victims
 
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