Remembering Chris Hani
On this day twenty one years ago, the South African Communist Party (SACP) secretary-general, Chris Thembisile Hani was shot and killed in the driveway of his Boksburg home.
A few facts about Chris Thembisile Hani also known to many as Tshonyane (his clan name):
Hani joined the ANC Youth League at the age of 15
Hani attended Fort Hare from 1959-1961 and graduated in 1962 from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, with a BA degree in Latin and English.
His first job was as a clerk in Cape Town
He joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) after his his graduation
He received military training in the Soviet Union and served in campaigns in the Rhodesian (Zimbabwe) Bush War
He took over from Joe Slovo as head of the South African Communist Party in 1991
He was the only political leader who seemed to have influence over the radical township self-defence groups that had parted from the authority of the ANC.
He was married to Limpho and they had three daughters, Neo Lindiwe and Nomakhwezi.
He was shot in the head and at the back as he stepped out of his car on 10 April 1993.
His killers, Walus and Derby-Lewis were captured, sentenced and jailed within six months of the assassination. Both were sentenced to death which was then lessened to life imprisonment after the death penalty was ruled “unconstitutional.”
Some of his famous quotes
On life and the struggle:
“I’ve never wanted to spare myself because I feel there are people who are no longer around and died for this struggle. What right to I have to hold back, to rest, to preserve my health, to have time with my family, when there are other people who are no longer alive – when they sacrificed what is precious: namely life itself”.
“What we need in South Africa is for egos to be suppressed in favour of peace. We need to create a new breed of South Africans who love their country and love everybody, irrespective of their colour”.
“We need to create the pathways to give hope to our youth that they can have the opportunity through education and hard work to escape the trap of poverty.”
On the new government:
“The perks of a new government are not really appealing to me. Everybody would like to have a good job, a good salary… but for me that is not the be-all of struggle. What is important is the continuation of the struggle. The real problems of the country are not whether one is in Cabinet… but what we do for social upliftment of the working masses of our country.”
“The police see me as the brains and key strategist. I have given up trying to prove that I am campaigning for peace. These guys see me as someone who is bad news. I fear that there are people who have the capacity to eliminate me. I am frightened about what they are planning”.
Sources: http://www.sahistory.org.za, http://www.numsa.org.za, http://www.cosatu.org.za and wikipedia.org