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Peter Gabriel – Biko lyrics

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

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

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

And the eyes of the world are
Watching now
Watching now

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  • u
    I believe the song was intended to tell the story of the final days of steve biko. In south africa, on september 1977 in police room 619. Steve biko was tortured and beaten to death by the authorities. (business as usual) the inhuman and racial policies of the south african authorities during aparthied were becoming known to the world after decades. I believe the second verse was intended to relay that peter gabriel sleep was distrubed by the thought of how and why this man was killed, using "red" to express his anger and the blood shed by steve biko and others due to the division of black and white people and that it all ended in only one color "dead".
    Steve biko basically was "a candle" that started "a fire" of awareness to the situation in south africa. His was only one flame added to many others that died trying to bring change to their country. Once pieces of the story got out to the world it got bigger than the authorities could handle and it could no longer be hidden or justified. No one has ever truely been held accountable for all the injustice and death, but now the world is watching south africa and the hope is that never again can these things happen.
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