Black Consciousness Philosphy

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Identify and critically discuss the main principles of the Black Consciousness philosophy.

The Black Consciousness Movement evolved in to an anti-apartheid activist movement. It was established by Steve Biko whose aim was to change the black man’s mindset and thus liberate the black people of South Africa during the Apartheid oppression. The bequest of the BCM helped give the black people a sense of valour. The movement highlighted the importance of conquering the mindset of black inferiority. This was done by emphasizing black pride and freedom against the psychological hostility the whites were making them experience (Biko, 2004:3-20). Black Consciousness was affirmed a way of life and a mindset that refused to accept white liberal judgment on how the black people were supposed to live and be treated (Marathodi, 2006). The movement effectively forced black consciousness to become the central purpose of the anti-Apartheid struggle within South Africa. The philosophy was largely Christianity based and focused on principles such as a refusal to acknowledge any white stereotypes of black people and to reject any ideals that alienated blacks in their own country. Biko argued this could only happen and become consequential when the black people stamped out their “slave mentality”. There also needed to be a commitment to welfare work and organized Black community engagement in order for this attitude to sink in and take root. The black people needed to become self-reliant and motivated to overcome, based on the solidarity of the movement (Marathodi, 2006). The BCM had a guiding principle of continuously testing the ‘dialectic’ of the Apartheid regime, as a way of reshaping (‘conscientizing’) black people’s frame of mind. A central idea of the Black Consciousness Movement was to develop the black man’s culture which had close relation to black literature. Poets and writers saw this as an opportunity to attempt to promote the black cultural identity through their...
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