"Biko" as written by Peter Gabriel and Horst Koenigstein....
September '77
Port Elizabeth weather fine
It was business as usual
In police room 619
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
The man is dead
The man is dead

When I try to sleep at night
I can only dream in red
The outside world is black and white
With only one colour dead
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
The man is dead
The man is dead

You can blow out a candle
But you can't blow out a fire
Once the flames begin to catch
The wind will blow it higher
Oh Biko, Biko, because Biko
Yihla Moja, Yihla Moja
The man is dead
The man is dead

And the eyes of the world are watching now, watching now

Lyrics submitted by kevver

"Biko" as written by Peter Gabriel

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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Biko song meanings
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  • +4
    General CommentThis song is about the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. Biko was a member of the movement who was murdered by the government. There was a movie entitled Biko in the early 80's.
    OzzWozon May 31, 2004   Link
  • +4
    General CommentAt some point, I became obsessed with the beautiful paean titled Ngosi Sikelel' iAfrika, and I found the following explanation of "Yihla Moya": This is actually not Afrikaans but Xhosa. This phrase can also be found in the song Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika that is now part of the national anthem of South Africa. The Xhosa phrase "yihla moya" (in Zulu it is: "woza moya")means "come spirit" in English.

    Peter Gabriel has always fearlessly used his music for social and political commentary. This song is an incredible homage to a true hero whom I admire even more than MLK because Biko's passion for his cause was visceral. The horrible sin for which they brutally took his life was spreading knowledge and self-love.

    Peter Gabriel was the brilliant gem to emerge from Genesis.

    naimawanon July 04, 2011   Link
  • +3
    General CommentSteve Biko wasn't just a 'anti-apartheid movement', he was one of the key leaders of the South African Student's Movement, which represented a serious threat to the ruling white system because it promoted black consciousness in a time when few even knew what that meant. Steve ranks way up there along with Gandhi and MLK. The book by Donald Woods is a good place to start learning.
    PaliSteveon September 18, 2005   Link
  • +3
    General Comment"not exactally [sic] Stairway to Heaven"

    And I think we can all be grateful for that.

    Inspired, important, incomparable.
    raffishtenant2on December 13, 2007   Link
  • +2
    General CommentOzzWoz, I think the movie you are thinking about is actually called "Cry Freedom", with Denzel Washington as Biko and Kevin Kline as Donald Woods.

    There was a video for the song Biko that contained scenes from this film and had a very short run when it was released. I've not seen it since.
    Arbiteron December 10, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General CommentStephen Bantu Biko was born in Qonce (in English, known as King Williams Town) in what was then called the Ciskei Bantustan, one of the few tiny tiny areas of South Africa where black people were allowed to own land.

    Without going into a lot of details, his memory has been heavily appropriated by the mainstream anti-apartheid movement because it suited their cause, but Biko was not a fan of the ANC and did not agree with many of their strategies or policies.

    Biko was picked up by the police on his way back to Qonce after visiting Cape Town to speak with Neville Alexander, another famous anti-apartheid activitist and Robben Island detainee.

    He is the father of the Black Conciousness Movement and his most influential work is a collection of his essays entitled "I Write What I Like" in which he pulls no punches in calling out race and power and how that power is abused. He most famously said "The greatest weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed." His words still ring true today: that until black people can convince themselves of their equality psychologically, they will forever be shackled to the inferior image of themselves handed to them by their white masters. Economic and political freedom may come, but it will not be true freedom until the black man has psychological freedom for himself.

    Young South Africans are looking again to Biko's words in the 21st century as they find themselves disillusioned with where the ANC has brought them.

    Watch this video clip of an interview with Biko: his frustration with the interviewer is palpable as they clearly are not understanding. In his utopia, in his vision, minorities would not have to be concerned for their rights or their cultures... because there wouldn't be such a thing as 'minority'.


    A beautiful vision indeed.
    Nox44on April 17, 2014   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti saw it last night!--reason being that new dvd with all his videos on it, very cool for any gabriel fan...
    RedRavenon January 08, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentRedRaven--oddly enough, I received Gabriel's "Play" DVD for Christmas. "Biko" is on it along with many more of his videos. I agree it's a very cool set!
    Arbiteron January 13, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI was born the day he died. Yihla moja
    olem77on March 13, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreat song, too many more people don't know his story. MLK is more famous simply because his family and the NAACP keeps promoting his legacy, but I always admired Biko more.
    Abq_physon March 14, 2006   Link

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