SGI News: Global activities for peace, education and culture

"My Revolution" in South Africa

[Photos from SGI-SA]

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda's antinuclear declaration, SGI-South Africa hosted "My Revolution--Revealing the Jewel Within," a tribute to Steve Biko in dance, music, song, storytelling and poetry, in Johannesburg on September 8. The event included a performance by poet Khosi Xaba, and a keynote speech from Mbuyiseni Oswald Mtshali, a poet for human rights who shared his perspective of Steve Biko and one of his poems. Some 200 people joined the event.

The year 2007 marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Steve Biko, an iconic figure in South African history who created a new pride and a new consciousness among the peoples of South Africa in some of its darkest hours. He died at age 30 on September 12, 1977, after being beaten and tortured by police.

SGI-South Africa determined to create a joyous celebration of his life, drawing inspiration from the text of a dialogue between Dr. Mtshali and SGI President Daisaku Ikeda in 1991, as well as a speech by Mr. Ikeda in the same year in which he described the Black Consciousness Movement, of which Biko was a youthful leader, as follows: "The focus of this Black Consciousness Movement was a self-revolution, a kind of 'human revolution' movement." Inspired by these words, SGI-South Africa set out to create a commemoration of the life of Steve Biko that would celebrate the parallels between the principles of Buddhism and Biko's ideals.

Several poets performed original poetry, including one talented young poet of 15. A director of the Steve Biko Foundation spoke, and the chairperson of the Steve Biko Remembrance Group shared anecdotes of his life. Musical performances had people dancing in their seats.