Book Review – The Black Conscious Reader

The Black Conscious Reader by Compiled by Ndaba et al (Jacana) ISBN: 978-1-4314-2578-5

Book Review – The Black Conscious Reader

Black Consciousness is a philosophy linked to Steve Biko and is based on the inferiority complex of the black person. Mentally damaged by the system of apartheid and colonialism, this status has not changed despite democracy. Sobukwe, one of the thought leaders discussed in this collection felt that the black man needed mental freedom from oppression and needed to be masters of their destiny, a human right that has been denied since Africa was colonised by Western Powers.

This collection coincides with the 40th anniversary of Steve Biko’s murder and focuses on many other prominent activists and personalities who added to this movement. It is an interesting collection of interviews, opinions, extracts and speeches and provides dimensions that is essential understanding what the philosophy promotes: that blackness is not the ‘other’ but rather brings about humanity concepts of love. The historical trajectory shows the activism of this movement to bring about confrontation when there is oppression.

Read the book in parts rather than from cover to cover as the content could get a little too involved for the arm-chair reader. It is suitable for the political enthusiast and academics.

Ulrike Hill