South Africa remembers Chris Hani

10 April 2015

The grave of Chris Hani, the assassinated leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe‚ the armed wing of the African National Congress‚ will be declared a heritage site as South Africa commemorates the 22nd anniversary of his death.

President Jacob Zuma‚ who will attend the commemoration of Hani’s death in Boksburg‚ Ekurhuleni on Friday‚ will also unveil the Chris Hani Memorial and Walk of Remembrance Monument.

The day’s events will also include a wreath-laying ceremony at Hani’s gravesite and a memorial lecture at the Germiston Lake Park to be delivered by Mineral Resources Minister Ngoako Ramatlhodi.

Watch: ‘Hani’s assassination was SA’s breaking point’

Courtesy The History Channel UK

10 April 1993

On 10 April 1993, Hani was shot and killed in the driveway of his home in Boksburg, east of Johannesburg, by Januzs Walus, an anti-Communist Polish refugee who had close links to the white nationalist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging (AWB).

Walus and Clive Derby-Lewis, at the time a Conservative Party member of Parliament, were sentenced to death for Hani’s murder, but ironically were saved from the gallows by South Africa’s new Constitution, which rules out the death penalty.

Derby-Lewis was denied medical parole in February 2015 “because he lied and has not shown remorse for his hand in the killing of the people’s hero”, Jovial Rantao wrote in the Sunday Independent.

Hani’s death came at a critical time for South Africa, with negotiators still busy hammering out the agreements that would enable the country to hold its first democratic elections a year later.

It was Nelson Mandela, president of the ANC, who stepped up to prevent the widespread anger at Hani’s murder from spilling over into bloodshed.

Appearing on state television, Mandela said: “To the youth of South Africa, we have a special message: You have lost a great hero. You have repeatedly shown that your love of freedom is greater than that most precious gift, life itself. But you are the leaders of tomorrow. Your country, your people, your organisation need you to act with wisdom. A particular responsibility rests on your shoulders.”

SAinfo reporter and SAnews.gov.za