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I Write What I Like: Selected Writings Paperback – September 1, 2002

ISBN-13: 978-0226048970 ISBN-10: 0226048977 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226048977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226048970
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #157,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

"Readers will find his essential humaneness, intelligence, and lack of malice as impressive as his eloquence and compelling arguments," said LJ's reviewer (LJ 2/15/79) of this volume combining articles and interviews that Biko first wrote under the nom de plume Frank Talk. It includes a preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Inside Flap

"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." Like all of Steve Biko's writings, those words testify to the passion, courage, and keen insight that made him one of the most powerful figures in South Africa's struggle against apartheid. They also reflect his conviction that black people in South Africa could not be liberated until they united to break their chains of servitude, a key tenet of the Black Consciousness movement that he helped found.

I Write What I Like contains a selection of Biko's writings from 1969, when he became the president of the South African Students' Organization, to 1972, when he was prohibited from publishing. The collection also includes a preface by Archbishop Desmond Tutu; an introduction by Malusi and Thoko Mpumlwana, who were both involved with Biko in the Black Consciousness movement; a memoir of Biko by Father Aelred Stubbs, his longtime pastor and friend; and a new foreword by Professor Lewis Gordon.

Biko's writings will inspire and educate anyone concerned with issues of racism, postcolonialism, and black nationalism.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 15 customer reviews
Also gained some insight into South Africa and its politics during his time.
Voracious Reader
With deepest sincerity and effort we can change the world, and make it a better place for all.
Mark Louzier
Should be read by anyone with an interest in South African history and humanity as a whole.
Savo Heleta

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Gary Gil on February 6, 2006
Format: Paperback
"I Write What I Like" was set on the backdrop of the thankfully defunct system of apartheid, but the parallels to our modern world remain both pertinent and poignant.

While activists such as Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela fought apartheid on the political and economic front, Steve Biko fought it on the most basic psychological level. He rejected the fundamental premise that made racism and subsequent apartheid possible. The premise he rejected was "that one kind of man was superior to another kind of man". The questions he posed and the answers he gave made him the most dangerous man alive to the white minority government of South Africa.

The movement Steve Biko helped found was called "Black Consciousness". Many decried it as a form of afro-centric racism. That characterization could not have been further from the truth. Black Consciousness differed sharply from other anti-apartheid movements in that it advocated the preservation and advancement of black culture from the individual level. Far from being reveres-apartheid, Biko called for blacks to have their own institutions, their own achievements, and preserve their own languages and cultural heritage - not to the exclusion of whites but with a clear assertion that their culture was valid, valuable and should be allowed to thrive and grow.

Biko asked the questions that were too hard to answer for their simplicity. "How can one prevent the lose of respect between child and parent when the child is taught by his know-all white tutors to disregard his family teachings? Who can resist losing respect for his tradition when in school his whole cultural background is summed up in one word - barbarism?"

Blacks struggling for equality in South Africa were labeled "terrorists" by the white minority government.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By CodyforOrange on December 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a clear formulator of a useful, modern, Black Consciousness for South Africans, Biko is unimpeachable - his criticism of liberal whites is fundamentally sound, that a racist system, in its import, taints the actions of everyone who works within the system as racist. Biko is working out the nuts and bolts of his theory of African advancement and affirmation while working on the front lines of the struggle. The intensity of the struggle is captivating, because the risks are great and violence is imminent - but Biko should also be captivating because of what he represents as a modern, critical African intellectual.
Criticizing Biko is hard because he was clearly interested, above all, in changing his own people's view of themselves, and re-instilling their necessary sense of self worth. How important to Biko is the cynicism of liberal whites in the present political culture that blacks "may not be doing a good job leading" (xxii)? Is his preferred, future "non-racial" South Africa something that other black leaders sympathize with? I think that we can link his popularity among young blacks inthe apartheid state with a new will to participate in the struggle. Because Biko was so courageous, it is perhaps a hard to get a clear idea of what he saw as the possible end games to the struggle.
This book is non-rhetorical and pragmatic, and the fact that Biko's conception of, and motivation of countless blacks in South Africa around, the idea of Black Consciousness make what Biko is talking about here successfully revolutionary.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By David Cohen on July 5, 2004
Format: Paperback
It's good to see this book back in print. The apartheid era might seem like the distant past, but it wasn't so long ago that so many people were knee-deep in this issue - and so many South Africans were suffering and dying.
South Africa today could have used a leader like Steve Biko. His writings show him to be a man of great intelligence, and the accompanying essay by Father Stubbs shows Biko to be a leader of great charisma. Read this book and you'll see what the world lost when Biko was slain.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bonita L. Davis on November 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Steve Biko will always be remembered as one of the most outspoken leaders in South Africa's liberation movement. Martyred at an early age, Biko's refusal to keep silent about apartheid was a thorn in the side of an oppressive and immoral regime. We are privileged to have in our hands a rare collection of Biko's writings spanning from the years 1970 to 1979. They cover a wide variety of topics but the core of each one expresses the ardent desire to throw off the yoke of oppression in its varied forms. Biko gives us a detailed analysis of racism, its impact on Blacks and whites and its destruction of the moral fabric of the society in which it resides.
He calls for a Black consciousness where Blacks respect one another and break off the yoke of inferiority. Since his death, the apartheid regime is gone but his words are just as relevent today as they were during his time. Ghosts of the past still haunt South Africa but the spirit of Biko's writings and liefe invoke a sense of hope and pride. Savor this young man's work and allow yourself to be guided by his spirit. This text outlines the philosophical, political and spiritual underpinnings of Steve Biko.
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