Non-racialism, relationality and no-relation: recovering Biko’s Black Consciousness forgotten

Keyan G. Tomaselli, Eric Louw, Christopher Merrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article examines the rearticulation of meanings appropriated out of historical and ideological phases of the anti-Apartheid struggle, specifically with regard to race (non-racialism) and Black Consciousness. It compares examples of democrats in contexts radically different from South Africa, deploying “South African-made” meaning into discursive and political-economic contexts for which they had not been designed. The example of Steve Biko’s life, and discourse of non-racialism and Black Consciousness, as discursively articulated in the films Cry Freedom and Biko: Breaking the Silence is the emphasis. The study examines, within the context of the competing visions for South Africa in the 1980s, meanings appropriated and rearticulated by liberals in Britain and America–producing narratives that may have been a surprise to Biko himself.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-279
Number of pages16
JournalSocial Dynamics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Black Consciousness
  • Steve Biko
  • non-racialism
  • rearticulation
  • semiotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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