Stephen (Steve) Bantu Biko was not alone in forging the Black Consciousness Movement (BCM); he was nevertheless its most prominent leader, who with others guided the movement of student discontent into a political force unprecedented in the history of South Africa. Biko and his peers were responding to developments that emerged in the high phase of apartheid, when the Nationalist Party (NP), in power for almost two decades, was restructuring the country to conform to its policies of separate development. The NP went about untangling what little pockets of integration and proximity there were between White, Black, Coloured and Indian people, by creating new residential areas, new parallel institutions such as schools, universities and administrative bodies, and indeed, new ‘countries’, the tribal homelands.
The students that launched the South Africa Students Organisation (SASO) belonged to a generation that resisted the process of strengthening apartheid, in any manner they could.
Biko’s rise to prominence is inextricably tied to the development of the BCM.