The inquest into the death of Black Consciousness leader, Steve Bantu Biko, opens in Pretoria

222
Monday, 14 November 1977

Steve Biko died naked and unattended on the cement floor of a cell in a Pretoria prison hospital after it had been established that he had suffered some kind of head trauma. An inquest into his death was held two months later in Pretoria.

The inquest received worldwide coverage, something that had never occurred before for a person who had died in detention. Police admitted to keeping Steve Biko shackled and naked for two days, but still dismissed allegations of assault. As it would later come to light, the inquest proved to be just one big conspiracy to conceal the real cause of Biko’s death, with all the witnesses and all court officials playing a part. The officials stood by the claim that Biko had committed suicide. It was later revealed that five police officers had in fact assaulted him which led to his death.

References:
• South African History Online (2011). ‘X - Counsel's Submission on behalf of the Biko Family’ [online]. Available at www.sahistory.org.za [Accessed on 13 October 2011]
• Body-Evans, A. (2011). ‘Stephen Bantu (Steve) Biko: Founder and martyr of the Black Consciousness movement in South Africa’ from About.com [online]. Available at: www.africanhistory.about.com [Accessed on 13 0ctober 2011]

Last updated : 14-Nov-2013

This article was produced by South African History Online on 02-Nov-2011

Support South African History Online

Donate and Make African History Matter

South African History Online is a non profit organisation. We depend on public support to build our website into the most comprehensive educational resource and encyclopaedia on African history.

Your support will help us to build and maintain partnerships with educational institutions in order to strengthen teaching, research and free access to our content.



Donate.