Thiven Reddy

Biko, the «political», and the collective black subject

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Steve Biko is the activist political thinker known for his contribution to black consciousness, a body of thought and practice, responding to blacks living in a racialized world and specifically the context of Apartheid South Africa. This article on Biko's political thought will focus on two themes: his conception of the black subject and his thinking on what constitutes the political. Biko presents the Black subject of South Africa as one who is a product of a history of «cultural obliteration» yet one also able to and desiring to «work with its remnants» to make of him/herself a fighting, resisting subject. An important understanding of Biko's notion of the political lies in a conception of forces in conflict and the «political» as the perpetual deliberation about an ethical life; the latter shows up the limitations of an emphasis on the State, an uncommon feature in South African anti-colonial thought.


  • Steve Biko
  • The «Political»
  • Black Subject
  • Anti-Colonial Thought


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