The Pan Afrikan Centre of Namibia (Pacon) has bestowed one of its highest awards on South African Black revolutionist Steve Biko, posthumously in recognition of his contribution to “liberating the minds of hordes of oppressed Africans”.
The Pacon Posthumous Pan-Afrikan Icon Award was received by Biko’s widow, Ntsiki Margaret Biko, at a gala dinner hosted in the capital by PACON on behalf of the visiting Biko family.
The late Biko’s sons, Nkosinathi and Samora Biko, were amongst those who accompanied the fallen political activist’s widow to Namibia.
Conferring the award on behalf of Pacon, the Speaker of the National Assembly, Theo-Ben Gurirab, urged African youth to emulate the example set by Biko by crafting their own destinies, and working towards achieving economic emancipation for their countries.
He said Biko had managed to free the minds of those who were “languishing in oppression” from White supremacist rule under the apartheid system by making them realise that they are as invaluable and more worthy than their oppressors.
“The youth of today need to learn from Biko, and emulate his leadership acumen. Today’s youths are called upon to respond to the challenges of the present day such as ignorance, apathy, corruption and immorality, amongst others, in order to pave a smooth future for themselves and their offspring,” he noted.
Gurirab also called on the youth to do away with their sense of entitlement, to stop relying on government hand-outs and instead become job providers.
Receiving the award, Nkosinathi Biko said although his father had received numerous posthumous recognitions, the Pacon award was special as it came from “home”.
“We regard Namibia as being home to us, just as the rest of Africa has been. As such, we take note that it is not always easy for your own people to recognise your work, unless you have really done something special. This award, therefore, means a lot to the Biko family,” he noted.
Biko rose to prominence as an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s.
As a student leader at the time, he is best known for having founded the Black Consciousness Movement, which would empower and mobilise much of the urban Black population.
Since his murder in police custody in 1977, he has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement and Africans worldwide.
Biko became the second recipient of the posthumous award from Pacon.
Namibian music icon Jackson Kaujeua, who was equally credited with liberating the minds of colonised Namibians through art during Namibia’s struggle for independence, was the first recipient of the award in 2011.