Bantu Stephen Biko was born, in King William's Town, South Africa. Politically active at a young age, Biko was expelled from high school for his activism. After graduating in 1966, Biko began attending the University of Natal Medical School, where he became active with the National Union of South African Students, a multiracial organisation advocating for the improvement of black citizens' rights.
In 1968, Biko co-founded the South African Students' Organisation, an all-black student organisation focusing on the resistance of apartheid, and subsequently spearheaded the newly started Black Consciousness Movement in South Africa. Biko became SASO's president in 1969.
Three years later, he was expelled from the University of Natal due to his political activism. That same year, Biko co-founded another black activist group, the Black People's Convention, and became the group's leader.
This group would become the central organisation for the BCM, which continued to gain traction throughout the nation during the 1970s.
In 1973, Biko was banned by the apartheid regime; he was forbidden to write or speak publicly, to talk with media representatives or to speak to more than one person at a time, among other restrictions.
Working undercover thereafter, Biko created the Zimele Trust Fund to aid political prisoners and their families in the mid-'70s. During the late '70s, Biko was arrested four times and detained for several months at a time.
In August 1977, he was arrested and held in Port Elizabeth.
The following month, on September 11, Biko was found naked and shackled several miles away, in Pretoria. He died the next day, on September 12, 1977, from a brain haemorrhage—later determined to be the result of injuries he had sustained while in police custody.
The news of Biko's death caused national outrage and protests, and he became regarded as an international anti-apartheid icon in South Africa.
The police oﬃcers who had held Biko were questioned thereafter, but none were charged with any oﬃcial crimes.
However, two decades after Biko's death, in 1997, ﬁve former oﬃcers confessed to killing Biko.