It has been 24 years since the ANC struggle hero and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Thembisile Chris Hani was assassinated in 1993 on the 10th April outside his home in Dawn Park (a racially mixed suburb of Boksburg).

Many will remember Hani for his selfless contribution to the cause which includes land ownership, free education and free medical care for black people.

Related: Dear millennials, here are 9 reasons why you should know the name Ahmed Kathrada

12 reasons to love Chris Hani:

1. The name Chris was adopted by him as a nom de guerre from his late brother

2. Chris Hani was the fifth of the six children of Gilbert and Mary Hani, and one of the three of siblings that did not die during infancy.

3. Due to his family, Hani was brought up as a devoted Christian which influenced his desire to enter priesthood and was enrolled at a Catholic school where he soon developed a love for Latin.

4. Within his autobiography, Chris Hani is cited saying, “My early Catholicism led to my fascination with Latin studies and English literature. These studies in these two courses were gobbled up by me and I became an ardent lover of English, Latin and Greek literature, both modern and classical”.

5. His father disapproved his quest to become a pastor and moved him to a non-denominational school, Matanzima Secondary School at Cala, in the Transkei.

6. Hani’s political ideas were further developed when Hani’s father had to leave their rural home in search of work in the urban areas of South Africa. This is the period that Hani was introduced to the politics of inequality. In 1954 when Bantu education was introduced in Hani’s school, some of his teachers who were part of the Unity Movement protested against Bantu education and they lost their jobs.

7. Between 1959-1961, Hani attended Fort Hare University. During this period Hani was exposed to Marxist ideology and graduated in 1962 from Rhodes University in Grahamstown, with a BA degree in Latin and English.

8. In 1957 , that is when Hani’s political involvement really begun. He became the member of the African National Congress’ Youth League (ANCYL). In his autobiography written in 1991, Chris Hani says, “In 1957 I made up my mind and joined the ANC Youth League. I was fifteen then, and since politics was prescribed at african schools, our activities were clandestine.”

9. As cited in his autobiography, in 1961 Hani joined the underground South African Communist Party as he realised that national liberation, though essential, would not bring about total economic liberation. “My decision to join the Party was influenced by such greats of our struggle like Govan Mbeki, Braam Fischer, JB Marks, Moses Kotane, Ray Simons, etc.” says Hani.

10. In 1962, after he recognised the intransigence of the racist regime, Hani joined the fledgling MK. This was the beginning of his long road in the armed struggle in which there have been three abortive assassination attempts against him personally.

11. In 1967, Hani fought together with Zipra forces in Zimbabwe as political commissar. During 1974 he came back to South Africa to build the underground and subsequently left for Lesotho where he operated.

12. On the 10 April 1993, Chris Hani was assassinated outside his home in Dawn Park. It is reported that he was shot on his back as he stepped out of his car by the anti-communist immigrant named Janusz Waluś.

RIP Chris Hani from TYI

Information provided by:

-Jane Folodi

Categories: News