1.A political ideology which defines as ‘black people’ all those who have been disadvantaged under apartheid, and which urges them to be strongly aware of their common experience of racially-based oppression, thus developing political solidarity, formulating ideas, and taking action independently (especially of the ideas and actions of whites, whether sympathetic or not); BC. Also attributive.
‘Black Consciousness’ emerged in the late 1960s among black university students who were dissatisfied with the attitudes of their white liberal colleagues in student organizations. It rejects all white political initiatives as inevitably slanted, criticizes the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party for the class basis to their ideologies, and differs from Africanism in not reserving the label ‘black’ for people of the Sintu language-groups and in not insisting on Africanization as a primary aim for post-apartheid South Africa. See also blacknoun sense 1 c, and blackadjective sense 3.
1972Daily Dispatch 26 July 14We fear the Nationalists still do not perceive the full significance of the new black consciousness.
1973Survey of Race Rel. (S.A.I.R.R.) 26Members of Black Consciousness organizations, in particular students, have rejected White liberals.
a1977S. Biko inS. NdabaOne Day in June (1986) 29What is Black Consciousness? In essence this is an attitude of mind and a way of life...Its unadulterated quintessence is the realisation by the black man of the need to rally together with his brothers around the cause of their oppression — the blackness of their skin — and to operate as a group in order to rid themselves of the shackles that bind them to perpetual servitude.
1977A. BoesakFarewell to Innocence 12Getting rid of an implanted slave mentality is central to the philosophy of Black Consciousness.
1978Daily Dispatch 24 May 11Chief Sebe said black consciousness was nothing more than ‘apartheid in reverse’.
1981Voice 10 June 5Black Consciousness therefore can not be called a racist philosophy since it seeks to eradicate such inequalities and conflicts in our society and establishes an open and egalitarian society.
1983C. SaundersHist. Dict. 26Black Consciousness..was much criticised by the African National Congress for placing too much emphasis on race, for being elitist and out of touch with the masses, and for not accepting the Freedom Charter. The PAC was more sympathetic, even claiming, without justification, that it was responsible for the introduction of Black Consciousness into South Africa. Several former members of the PAC were..among the leading figures in the Black Consciousness Movement.
1986P. Van Niekerk inNew Statesman (U.K.) 13 June 21The chief proponent of Black consciousness, the Azanian People’s Organisation (AZAPO) has widespread popular support in Soweto, symbolically the most important of all the Black townships.
1987New Nation 23 Apr. 9The Black Consciousness (BC) theorists tried to avoid racial or ethnic concepts. Blackness was defined by oppression, not race, and could embrace Indians and coloured people as well as Africans...Whites who wished to contribute..should confine themselves to attempting to ‘conscientise’ their white compatriots.
1990A. Dangor inStaffriderVol.9No.2, 33I have developed from a position of commitment to Black Consciousness in the seventies to non-racialism in the eighties but I still believe that the values of black self-assertion and emancipation put forward by Black Consciousness are relevant to me today if they do not preclude upholding a non-racial political philosophy.
1991F.G. ButlerLocal Habitation 188Alfred Stubbs, a charming, elongated Etonian devoted to the cause of black consciousness, and a great admirer of its leader, Steve Biko.
Black Consciousness Movement, a collective name for those organizations subscribing to the principles of Black Consciousness; the actions of these groups, especially those aimed at increasing the support given to Black Consciousness; BCM.See also BPC.
1977Daily Dispatch 3 Aug. 9The identification of the committee with the black consciousness movement was..referred to in an article yesterday in Die Transvaler.
1977Times (U.K.) 20 Oct. 1The South African Government, in an effort to suppress the country’s black consciousness movement and stifle domestic criticism of its racial policies, yesterday banned 18 anti-apartheid organizations, closed two newspapers and arrested between 50 and 70 black leaders.
1982E. Prov. Herald 6 Nov. 3The organisation gave financial assistance to the ANC, PAC and various other organisations known collectively as the Black Consciousness Movement.
1987Star 2 Jan. 13The exiled Black Consciousness Movement urged ‘solidarity in the ranks of the oppressed’.
1987M. BensonAt Still Point (1988) (Virago ed.) 243Steve Biko and other young Blacks from that area (sc. the Eastern Cape) were to found the Black Consciousness Movement, helping to inspire the 1976 uprising when Black schoolchildren in Soweto confronted heavily armed police.
1991E. Prov. Herald 17 May 5Mr Pityana was a leading figure in the Black Consciousness movement in the late 60s and 70s..a co-leader with the late Steve Biko.
A political ideology which defines as ‘black people’ all those who have been disadvantaged under apartheid, and which urges them to be strongly aware of their common experience of racially-based oppression, thus developing political solidarity, formulating ideas, and taking action independently (especially of the ideas and actions of whites, whether sympathetic or not); BC. Also attributive.
a collective name for those organizations subscribing to the principles of Black Consciousness; the actions of these groups, especially those aimed at increasing the support given to Black Consciousness; BCM.
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