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Biko - Cry Freedom

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  888 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Subjected to 22 hours of interrogation, torture and beating by South African police on September 6, 1977, Steve Biko died six days later. Donald Woods, Biko's close friend and a leading white South African newspaper editor, exposed the murder helping to ignite the black revolution.
ebook, 289 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1978)
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Dec 09, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I heard a lot about Steve Biko growing up. I had never imagined him being so young when he was murdered (only 30 years old) because of all he had achieved and how inspirational he was, and still is.

This is perhaps the first biography I have read which was written by a friend of the subject. Donald Wood is a very courageous white South African who became one of Biko's closest friend and was subsequently involved in South Africa's struggle against Apartheid. What I admired about Wood was the fact
Shahr Baran
Mar 08, 2015 Shahr Baran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
کتاب درباره زندگی قهرمان ضد نژاد پرستی افریقا استیو بیکو است
او در زمان آپارتاید برای تحقق رویای ازادی سیاهان تلاش ومبارزه کرد وجنبش آگاهی سیاهان را به راه انداخت.. . او به خاطر شعارش، سیاه زیباست مشهور است،
که خودش اینگونه آن را معنی کرده است: مرد، همین جور که هستی خوبی، به عنوان یک انسان به خودت نگاه کردن را آغاز کن.
او در 12 سپتامبر 1977در زندان های آپارتاید در گذشت ..
Apr 19, 2012 Kathleen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not watch "Cry Freedom" before reading this book if you are expecting it to be like the movie. Same subject matter, but Cry Freedom is about getting the book itself out of the country.

Although a little bit boring in spots, it very much explains the struggles that those men of color in South Africa had to go through to have thier messages heard.

The moral of the story: Do not let these deaths be in vain--all should take lessons from the struggles of the Blacks in South Africa and remember that
Aug 21, 2008 Amelia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Woods provides a complex and detailed portrait of Steve Biko, a leader of the Black Consciousness movement in South Africa during the period of apartheid, and conveys the extent of the oppression instituted by the South African government on blacks and outspoken whites. Though Woods does not appear to shy away from his or Biko's negative attributes, it is very easy to identify and sympathize with both and find oneself outraged at the way Biko's life was cut short.
Jul 11, 2012 jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: best-books
I watched the movie first then read the book. Horrific experiences. Really nasty stuff happened to this young man in his quest to free his people. The author also made loads of sacrifices.
Sep 16, 2007 TawanaMarie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was in the 3rd grade. This one of the two books my mom gave to me the other one was Roots.
Alex Roma
May 06, 2016 Alex Roma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was not an enjoyable book to read, nor did I expect it to be. Well, actually, there were enjoyable parts to it. I enjoyed meeting the character of Biko and some of the banter in the friendship between Biko and Donald Woods (the author). Even though I knew how it ended, he was such a warm person and so passionate about what he believed, that I enjoyed reading about who he was when he was alive.

It was when I wasn't reading this book that was hard. It was hard to focus on other conversations o
Rebecca Fjelland Davis
Steve Biko died in police custody on September 12, 1977, six days after being arrested by South African police. An unauthorized (secret) autopsy revealed brain trauma caused by severe blows to the head was the cause of death.

Biko was the leader of the Black Consciousness Movement, an organization that promoted liberation and political change through peaceful, non-violent means of resistance. Because Biko’s words challenged the ruling Afrikaner Nationalist Party’s apartheid government, he was con
Jul 07, 2013 Trisha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2005-and-before
Op 6 september 1977 werd de leider van de Zwarte Bewustwordingsbeweging Steve Biko door de Zuidafrikaanse veiligheidspolitie gevangengenomen.Hij werd 22 uur verhoord,gemarteld en geslagen en overleed zes dagen later aan een fatale hersenbeschadiging. Het boek vertelt het verhaal over Steve Biko en zijn strijd.

'Ik ben ervan overtuigd,' zegt Donald Woods tien jaar later,' dat niemand aan de top Steves dood wilde. Daarvoor was hij te bekend en te zeer martelaar voor het herstel van de zwar
Theophilus (Theo)
Steven Biko, a black student activist in South Africa during the 1970s, was murdered while in custody of the South African police, who claimed it ws suicide. Apparently he beat himself so badly that he died from his injuries. Donald Woods, a white South African journalist, found a story he could not let go, even at the insistence of the S.A. government. He personally knew Biko and resolved to tell the true story of what happened. With his own family the victim of police intimidation and threats, ...more
May 05, 2012 BeeQuiet rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Having read the 1987 version of this book I felt I was viewing a snapshot of a very particular time. At the time of the printing of this edition, South Africa was in a state of turmoil, and as Donald Woods correctly pointed out, the question was not if violence would increase, but when.

This book is written in a rather propagandist time, but unusually I do say this as a means of levelling criticism. Instead, the desperation of Woods to convince the international community that it was of incredibl
Thom Dunn
from the back cover: "Bantu Stephen Biko, perhaps the most important Black leader to have emerged in South Africa, was tortured and killed by the Security Police in September, 1977. This book. written in defiance of a banning order by Biko's close friend, Donald Woods, the white newspaper editor who led the protests after his death, offers a remarkable personal and political portrait of the murdered leader. It includes a concise history of South Africa's racial policies and closes with a ringing ...more
EuGene Byrd
May 20, 2008 EuGene Byrd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm almost finished reading this book, and when I'm not reading it, I'm thinking about the things I've read. I recommend this book to everyone, and I think it is a must read for every Black person. Steve Biko was killed simply because he tried to raise 'Black consciousness' in South Africa. His writings are still relevant today, as I believe that we still need to raise our 'Black consciousness' here in the US.

These are OUR heroes, learn about them and pass what you have learned to your kids and
Neville Prince
May 30, 2016 Neville Prince rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough reading, but very important. I liked it enormously. Very difficult to wrap one's head around such terrible thing that were done to Biko. The movie is different, by the way, and is not simply a re-telling of this book. This is a study of a very important man, and done with sensitivity and history and subdued anger. A really good thing to read if you have any interest in the history of apartheid and the current turmoil in race relations in 'that' country.
Oct 28, 2011 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: country, history
A fascinating condemnation of pre-apartheid South Africa, based on the author's discussions and friendship with Stephen Biko. Biko was eventually murdered by the S. African Security Police, and the author was forced to flee the country for demanding an investigation. I am amazed that so many like Biko sought a peaceful path to freedom despite the violent oppression they faced.
Oct 18, 2012 Ona rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't generally like biography as a genre, but this book is particularly bad. The first third is about Woods, the author, not Biko, the subject. A considerable amount of the remainder is simply direct legal transcripts from the inquest into Biko's death. Everyone should read about Biko and his significance in South African history & politics, but this is NOT the go to book.
BIOGRAPHY -- South Africa, Civil Rights, Politics
Fall-Spring 1985 while I was at Cal, I slept on the steps of Sproul Hall to encourage the Regents to divest their funds from the Apartheid in South Africa. I read BIKO as part of my education. It was inevitable I suppose being raised around the Black Panthers who at times were some of father's closest friends.
Mar 18, 2007 Leila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First hand account from the white journalist who covered Biko's movement and had to flee South Africa with the manuscript of this book. As with all autobiographies, the hero comes off a little too virtuous to be true, but it's it's a good chronicle of how Biko became Biko and a must read for understanding modern South African politics.
Buffy Weill-greenberg
i read the version released in 1987 -- before mandela was released, before apartheid fell... great read, especially in light of the revolution taken place in south africa since the book's release. also interesting to learn the truth about biko's murder revealed post-apartheid.
Ryan Mishap
Not so much a biography as it is Woods' memoir and an indictment of apartheid South Africa. I put this in on the "history" shelf as well--at the time it wasn't, but it is worth looking back at this book and others like it, to get a sense of how things were.
Nov 24, 2011 Nancy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book and I saw the movie Cry Freedom at least 5 times. The story is difficult and raw but a great read to understand the politics and resistance to racism and classism in South Africa during the Apartheid era.

Essential reading.
Aug 24, 2007 Rachel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: South African studies readers; postcolonial readers; prison lit. readers; resistance lit. readers
Very engaging, realistic portrayal of resistance against Apartheid and the imprisonment of resistance leaders. Shows collusion among Apartheid-era South African leaders with the U.S. and Israel in intelligence, interrogation, and torture techniques.
Brent Meyers
It was not really a biography but an agenda driving account. The biographical part was interesting and helpful but the record of the trial was boring--I skipped a good bit. He was an interesting man that I'd like to learn more about.
Jan 29, 2012 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I didn't know much about Biko when I found this book. At the time I had discovered my hero, Nelson Mandela. I was searching for books about him when my friend handed me this book.
I am so thankful that I decided to buy this book.
Feb 12, 2008 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Story of a revolutionary and inspirational South African leader in the fight against Apartheid. Also a phenominal movie with Denzel Washington and Kevin Kline, though I forgot what that was called.
Mar 13, 2007 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone & everyone
The Afrikaan Nationalist government of South Africa used the terms "hunger strike" and "suicide" as a euphemism for apartheidic murder when they detained men like Steve Biko for the last time...
Jun 26, 2010 Amber rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating look into the journey of white journalist Donald Woods as he meets activist Steven Biko in South African and begins his political education.
Oct 03, 2014 Darwinian marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
Jun 08, 2016 Rochelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredibly in depth look from Donald Woods into the issue of Apartheid and the life and beliefs of Steve Biko, as well as the circumstances of his death (murder) and the ensuing trial.
The only reason I gave 4 and not 5 stars is because the account of the trial, though detailed, takes up a big chunk of the book and can be very hard to get through just because it's really dry. A personal thing perhaps but I found it difficult to get through all the days of the trial without being distracted.
Sangeeta Mangubhai
Wonderful book but you need a huge box of tissues at your side. Let us not forget Steve Biko and what he did for the freedom of his people.
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Donald Woods was editor-in-chief of the Daily Dispatch, a newspaper in South Africa. While editor, he integrated the editorial staff (in direct opposition to apartheid) and took up an anti-apartheid stance. However, Woods was originally opposed also to the Black Consciousness Movement, and in particular Steve Biko; they became friends, and Woods was put under ban after the Soweto Uprising.
Woods an
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