US-Sweden Global Leaders–Meseker Yohannes

Hey everyone,

My name is Meseker, and I’m a sophomore at Stanford University. I grew up in Las Vegas, NV, although my parents are immigrants from Ethiopia. I’m really interested in understanding the nuanced styles of talented orators, and how an audience responds to their individual styles. Similarly, I also want to learn the psychology of leadership, and how that ties in with effective communication.
For my research project, I’d like to examine the rhetoric employed by Steve Biko during the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa. I’m particularly interested in the Black Consciousness Movement, a movement Biko founded, that worked to “elevate his [a black man’s] own position by positively looking at those very systems that make him a man in society.” This very rhetoric, along with other sayings such as “black is beautiful,” were used by Biko to empower great numbers of urban blacks and helped them realize their self-worth. Biko’s words conveyed encouragement, however, their boldness also conveyed fear to many white people who enjoyed the social benefits of apartheid.

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