Zille recounts exposing cover-up around Steve Biko's death - "I was terrified"

Retired politician Helen Zille has remembered how she helped uncover the truth behind Steve Biko's death in 1977.

South Africans have been paying tribute to the anti-apartheid veteran and Black Consciousness Movement leader, who was killed 42 years ago today.

Also read: My father's memory lives on, says Biko's son

As a young activist and journalist for the Rand Daily Mail in the late 1970s, Zille was instrumental in exposing the cover-up around Biko's death.

When apartheid minister of justice Jimmy Kruger released a statement claiming that Biko had died while on hunger strike, she was assigned to the story.

I was a very young journalist and I remember a statement came 'on the wire', as we used to call it then.

Helen Zille, former DA leader and Western Cape premier

He [Steve Biko] had only been arrested the week before and it was frankly impossible for a grown man of his size and stature to have died within a week. We knew that there was something deeply suspicious about that.

Helen Zille, former DA leader and Western Cape premier

Zille says she was sent by her editor to Port Elizabeth, where she found various leads from sources including doctors, police and others who had made contact with Biko before his death.

I was absolutely terrified. I had to speak to everyone who had contact with Steve Biko in his last days.

Helen Zille, former DA leader and Western Cape premier

She learned that a pathology report, which police tried to bury, found that Biko's death was caused by brain injuries.

Zille knew for certain that Biko did not die of a hunger strike and she published her story in a bid to force police to open an inquest.

If he died of unnatural causes there would have to be an inquest, by law. When the inquest came, it was all on the table.

Helen Zille, former DA leader and Western Cape premier

Listen to her reflect on how she helped uncover the story and the role of journalism today:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Zille recounts exposing cover-up around Steve Biko's death - "I was terrified"


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
Former media exec molested 'hundreds' of boys and young men - Deon Wiggett

Former media exec molested 'hundreds' of boys and young men - Deon Wiggett

The final episode of Deon Wiggett's podcast series 'My Only Story' has been published in collaboration with News24.

District Six land claimants to discuss govt's proposed restitution plan

District Six land claimants to discuss govt's proposed restitution plan

The District Six Reference Group will hold a meeting on Saturday to outline the proposals that the government has put on the table.

Is southern Africa drought drying up Victoria Falls?

Is southern Africa drought drying up Victoria Falls?

Harare-based BBC journalist Shingai Nyoka gives a first-hand account of the devastating effect of the drought on Zimbabwe.

'We're ready and able to deal with increased online payments on Black Friday'

'We're ready and able to deal with increased online payments on Black Friday'

PayFast MD Jonathan Smit says the spread of technologies available should help mitigate risk of compromising payment systems.

Final night of Joburg Theatre's 'beautiful' Steve Biko commemoration

Final night of Joburg Theatre's 'beautiful' Steve Biko commemoration

Makhaola Ndebele says people can expect a beautiful performance called Bantu the Series.

My father's memory lives on 41 years later, says Biko's son

My father's memory lives on 41 years later, says Biko's son

Trustee and founder of the Steve Biko Foundation say his legacy still lives on well beyond the realms of politics.

Popular articles
'Toddler (Boy) Mamabolo is behaving like a toddler who is at nursery school'

'Toddler (Boy) Mamabolo is behaving like a toddler who is at nursery school'

Eusebius McKaiser gives his opinion on the behaviour of politicians in Parliament during the Sona debate.

Possibility of Wednesday load shedding has increased, warns Eskom

Possibility of Wednesday load shedding has increased, warns Eskom

The power utility has warned that the system remains vulnerable and load shedding can be implemented at short notice.

[WATCH] SANDF tank crashing through crowd goes viral, is this another Mabena?

[WATCH] SANDF tank crashing through crowd goes viral, is this another Mabena?

Khabazela shares some of the videos that went viral on Twitter and Facebook.

[WATCH] Camera falling from plane into pig pen has social media in stitches

[WATCH] Camera falling from plane into pig pen has social media in stitches

Khabazela shares some of the videos that went viral on Twitter and Facebook.

Who actually owns this house, some social media users say it belongs to them

Who actually owns this house, some social media users say it belongs to them

Khabazela shares some of the videos that went viral on Twitter and Facebook.

'If  Statistics SA Council is destroyed it will leave country at disadvantage'

'If Statistics SA Council is destroyed it will leave country at disadvantage'

Former statistician-general Dr Pali Lehohla says if the agency doesn't receive more funding, citizens will be denied information.

'Extreme concerns' about coronavirus making landfall in Africa

'Extreme concerns' about coronavirus making landfall in Africa

The coronavirus has made landfall - and apart from obvious dangers, its effect on the Chinese economy will also hit Africa hard.

An Allan Gray advertisement hits home and a golf resort gets lost

An Allan Gray advertisement hits home and a golf resort gets lost

Andy Rice, branding and advertising expert, tells us what ads caught his fancy and which ones baffled him.

Why EY thinks it's time to start dropping SA’s corporate tax rate

Why EY thinks it's time to start dropping SA’s corporate tax rate

If the corporate tax rate in South Africa gets lowered, would it lead to higher tax collections?

Stats SA Council threatens to resign over lack of funding, frozen posts

Stats SA Council threatens to resign over lack of funding, frozen posts

''If there are no official statistics approved by the statistician general - at that point I think your rates agencies will just say Game Over.''