President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS
President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS

President Jacob Zuma used the 40th anniversary of the death of revered Black Consciousness Movement leader Steve Biko to highlight that though black people had attained political freedom‚ economic emancipation was still a dream.

“We are now saying let us participate in the struggle to liberate ourselves economically because politically we have done that…we have political rights and authority but economically we are not yet there…‚” he said.

Speaking at the Kgosi Mampuru II Correctional Centre in Pretoria on Tuesday‚ after laying wreaths on the door of the cell in which Biko spent his last moments‚ Zuma said black people could not say they were free when they were still living under bridges‚ when there was unemployment‚ poverty and inequality.

The president said South Africa was still two worlds in one country‚ saying the colour of informal settlements and poverty was still black.

“When we remember (Biko) it is not just that we remember him for the sake of it but it is to say or ask ourselves‚ is the struggle over or not? There may be those who say the struggle is over but the reality is it is not‚” he said.

Zuma said therefore one should not be criticised for calling for the change of the ownership and control of the means of the economy‚ saying this was what Biko stood for.

He said Biko stood for the poor and the downtrodden and that‚ despite having attained freedom‚ black people still did not have access to land for economic activities and industrialisation.

“Biko would have said you do not have economic power‚ you have the political power. You do not have the land for the economy and industrialisation…do not make a mistake and say it is done. Not yet‚” the president said.

Stressing that South Africans were still not free‚ Zuma said many of his kind were still hated as Biko was hated.

He said at least Biko was hated and killed but “we are still hated with words … it is still there. It is what we receive always from where we are. So we are not ashamed to remember him".

Zuma urged young people to define freedom so that they knew what they still needed to fight for.

Biko died on 12 September 1977 after being tortured by apartheid police.

- TimesLIVE

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