Monday, September 13, 2010

Remembering Steve Biko

I have decided to repost this post - 33 years ago he died.

Hat tip Whenua Fenua Enua Vanua

One of the most influencial people in my life was a man called Steve Biko. I found this book when I was young and it affected me greatly. Then along came the tour and I carried a handmade sign saying, 'Remember Steve Biko' throughout all the protest marches.

This is a quote from a paragragh of an article Steve Biko wrote in 1970

"Does this mean I am against intergration? If by integration you understand a breakthrough into white society by blacks, an assimilation and acceptance of blacks into an already established set of norms and code of behaviour set up and maintained by whites, then YES I am against it. I am against the superior-inferior white-black stratification that makes the white a perpetual teacher and the black a perpetual pupil (and a poor one at that). I am against the intellectual arrogance of white people that makes them believe that white leadership is a sine qua non in this country and that whites are the divinely appointed pace-setters in progress. I am against the fact that a settler minority should impose an entire system of values on an indigenous people".

That was written in a different time, place and context I agree, but once you get over the fact that we are not black south africans, and allow your mind to slide over the black/white terminology, the message still resonates.

We must do things our way.

What does that mean for us Ngai Tahu? Many of us still have an inferiority complex. Many of us still believe that the consumerist, western model is our model. Many of us still think they are right and we are wrong. Colonisation is insidious, it is designed to make people change their values, it erodes a peoples confidence in themselves so that they believe the lies that they cannot do it, or that they don't have the skills or that the pursuit of money is the be all and end all. It's all rubbish. Only Ngai Tahu whanui will save/protect/grow/empower Ngai Tahu whanui.

That is why I believe we must employ Ngai Tahu in every position that comes up and all existing positions should have a succession plan put in place for the goal of, eventually having 100% Ngai Tahu in the roles. (Just a small digression, I have great respect and admiration for all of the work that non Ngai Tahu have done for the iwi. I thank you sincerely for your mahi and aroha, and hopefully it goes without saying that I also respect and admire the iwi members who do work for the iwi, it is a very tough environment that takes great patience and forbearance to survive in).

But my point is that it must be Ngai Tahu who build this iwi. Our values not others, and don't worry the knowledge is there, waiting to come forth. We have thousands of brilliant people that could run TRONT and OTRONT and all of the subsidaries.

Perhaps another quote from Steve Biko

"The blacks are tired of standing at the touchlines to witness a game that they should be playing. They want to do things for themselves and all by themselves."

Letter to SRC Presidents, I Write What I Like, 1978.

Steve Biko died on the floor of a empty Pretoria Central Prison cell on 12 September 1977, aged 30.


HappyzineCharlotte said...

You make some sharp points here MM, they're obviously coming from a very sharp mind! Pity the people who stand in your way! I think your contributions to the blogishere are strong and that there is a place for them here. I love that you encourage people to stand proud in their strengths - this is a great thing to encourage people to do universally - we're all born with something unique to offer and the sooner we honour our seed, the better. You've obviously got something special to offer Ngai Tahu, I hope they listen and take the koha you're offering. Kia Kaha Kia Maia.

Hateatea said...

Tēnā koe mo ou whakaaro.

I too admired Steve Biko and was saddened and angered that South Africa and the world lost his inspiration at far too young an age.

I dream of a time that all iwi positions, whether central or local are filled by are own, at realistic salaries and with a values base that is more in keeping with the aspirations of the flaxroots. Unfortunately, with so many of the whānui being long separated from their true turangawaewae, I fear that western corporate will remain the norm with an increasing focus on those with academic success and less value being placed on ahi kaa amd tikanga learned on the marae at the feet of the tāua and pōua.

I hope I am being pessimistic but worry that I may be merely realistic!

Kia kaha, kia maia, kia ū

Marty Mars said...

Kia ora Hateatea

Our vision is the same and I think many feel the same way, although they may not say it.

We will change things and create a more natural environment for Ngai Tahu whanui. This will happen and the lawyers and academics and others will not stop it.

It will take time but we will do it.
For too long our pride has come from our commercial success - now we need to front up to cultural success, and doing things OUR way.

Karawhiua Kai Tahu!