The Black Consciousness Movement (BCM) was a grassroots anti-Apartheid activist movement that emerged in South Africa in the mid-1960s out of the political vacuum created by the jailing and banning of the African National Congress and Pan Africanist Congress leadership after the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960. The BCM represented a social movement for political consciousness.
"Black Consciousness origins were deeply rooted in Christianity. In 1966, the Anglican Church under the incumbent, Archbishop Robert Selby Taylor, convened a meeting which later on led to the foundation of the University Christian Movement (UCM). This was to become the vehicle for Black Consciousness."
The BCM attacked what they saw as traditional white values, especially the 'condescending' values of white people of liberal opinion. They refused to engage white liberal opinion on the pros and cons of black consciousness, and emphasized the rejection of white monopoly on truth as a central tenet of their movement. While this philosophy at first generated disagreement amongst black anti-Apartheid activists within South Africa, it was soon adopted by most as a positive development. As a result, there emerged a greater cohesiveness and solidarity amongst black groups in general, which in turn brought black consciousness to the forefront of the anti-Apartheid struggle within South Africa.
The BCM's policy of perpetually challenging the dialectic of Apartheid South Africa as a means of conscientizing Black thought (rejecting prevailing opinion or mythology to attain a larger comprehension) brought it into direct conflict with the full force of the security apparatus of the Apartheid regime. "Black man, you are on your own" became the rallying cry as mushrooming activity committees implemented what was to become a relentless campaign of challenge to what was then referred to by the BCM as 'the System'. It eventually sparked a confrontation on June 16, 1976 in the Soweto uprising, when at least 200 people were killed by the South African Security Forces, as students marched to protest the use of the Afrikaans language in African schools. Unrest spread like wildfire throughout the country. The Black revolution in South Africa had begun.
However, although it successfully implemented a system of comprehensive local committees to facilitate organized resistance, the BCM itself was decimated by security action taken against its leaders and social programs. By June 19, 1976, 123 key members had been banned and confined to remote rural districts. In 1977 all BCM related organizations were banned, many of its leaders arrested, and their social programs dismantled under provisions of the newly Implemented Internal Security Amendment Act. In September 1977, its banned National Leader, Steve Biko, was murdered while in the custody of the South African Security Police.
Above is a wikipedia explanation of Black Consciousness, a movement that brought about the beginning of the end of apartheid. One of many people that inspire me is the life of Steve Biko who's life was cut short as he was murdered by white rulers in South Africa.
Much of Black Consciousness involved peaceful protest as strong a message that could ever be delivered to the world and something I believe we could all learn from. A predominantly Christian movement where black people stood up to the morally corrupt South African government where a white minority ruled over a black dominated country and many black people in an era where there were no human rights clearly did not have any.
Steve Biko - a man who inspires me who really did pay the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of his people.
A student leader, he later founded the Black Consciousness Movement which would empower and mobilize much of the urban black population. Since his death in police custody, he has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement. While living, his writings and activism attempted to empower black people, and he was famous for his slogan "black is beautiful", which he described as meaning: "man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being".
Despite friction between the African National Congress and Biko throughout the 1970s[Need quotation to verify] the ANC has included Biko in the pantheon of struggle heroes, going as far as using his image for campaign posters in South Africa's first non-racial elections in 1994 (Wikipedia)