“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 do 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’- Chris Hani
“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 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.’- Chris Hani
Today, marks an important day in South AfriKKKa’s recent history. It marks the 30th anniversary of the assassination of one of South AfriKKKa’s most gallant freedom fighters, Baba Chris Hani on 10 April, 1993.
Reading about the assassination of someone prominent and living through the moment of their assassination are two different things. I lived through the moment of the assassination of uBaba Chris Hani.
Back in 1993, aged seventeen, I was in church with my family, as it was the Easter weekend. The priest, Reverend Hlazo, abruptly departed from his prepared sermon and said “MaTopiya amahle, amabhulu ambulele uChris Hani. Thixo! sisilingo santoni esi?” meaning ‘Beautiful Ethiopians, the white people have killed Chris Hani. God! What provocation is this?”
After these words, the mood in church changed instantly and there was a pervasive feeling of deep sadness. Clearly hurting, our priest kept on talking about what a painful moment this is and led the whole congregation in a special prayer.
Upon reflection, I now realise how Reverend Hlazo led us through what was without doubt one of the most difficult moments in our recent history as Black people. After church, I spent the remainder of that day in front of the television with my father, watching every news channel reporting on the assassination of Baba Hani. The assassination of Baba Hani is arguably one of the most seismic events in South AfriKKKa’s recent history.
This is not just because of the manner of his assassination and the time when this all happened, but also because of the stature of the person of Baba Hani. In the eyes of many Black people in South AfriKKKa, especially the youth, at the time, Baba Hani was viewed as South AfriKKKa’s next president.
In fact, even the white rightwing operatives who formed part of the conspiracy to have him murdered also cited his appeal to Black young people as one of the key factors in the conspiracy to have him murdered.
The one image that remains forever etched in my mind is that of Baba Hani in his dark blue tracksuit, lying just outside his driveway, with his head buried in a pool of his own blood.
It was later reported that, he was assassinated in his driveway in Dawn Park, Boksburg, and the person responsible for his murder was Polish immigrant, Janusz Walus. It was later also revealed that Walus was not acting alone and was part of a wider conspiracy involving South AfriKKKa’s rightwing.
It was said that the gun that Walus used was provided by Clive Derby-Lewis. Derby Lewis as a founder of South AfriKKKa’s Conservative Party in 1982 ( one of the few parties that opposed South AfriKKKa’s all race 1994 general elections).
In 1993, Derby-Lewis was convicted for conspiracy to commit murder and sentenced to death for his role in Hani’s assassination. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment when capital punishment was outlawed in South AfriKKKa in 1995.
During his amnesty hearing at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Derby-Lewis said “…the assassination was encouraged or sanctioned by senior leaders of the Conservative Party”
He further said that “…my people, who were threatened with a Communist take-over… As a Christian, my first duty is to the Almighty God before everything else. We were fighting against communism, and communism is the vehicle of the Antichrist.”
In his last interview before his death, Derby-Lewis further stated that “Uncontrollable’ Hani had to be killed.” In 2022, South AfriKKKa’s Constitutional Court ordered the Minister of Justice Minister, to release Walus on parole. Two days before his release from prison, Walus was stabbed in prison. He was hospitalised and later discharged from hospital.
The Hani family and in particular his wife, Mama Limpho Hani has always believed that Walus and Derby-Lewis did’nt tell the full story. She continues to campaign for the full truth behind her husband’s assassination to be revealed.
Like many high profile assassinations in Afrika, the assassination of Baba Chris Hani continues to spark heated debate among Black people and raise many questions about the motive behind his assassination and the people who may have been involved.
This year, Black people in South AfriKKKa commemorate the anniversary of Baba Hani’s assassination under a debilitating cloud of despair and hopelessness. South AfriKKKa continues to carry the dubious title of being one of the most unequal societies in the world, elite corruption is rampant, public services like water and electricity are collapsing and poor black communities continue to be terrorised by criminal gangs.
Today, the dream of a dignified life for South AfriKKKa’s Black majority remains a fleeting illusion. This has bred a deep feeling among Black people ( especially the economically excluded young people) that the ideals for which revered freedom fighters such as Baba Chris Hani, Baba Mangaliso Sobukwe and Baba Bantu Biko fought, have been betrayed by the current crop of Black political leaders.
As a result of this, the Black majority in South AfriKKKa has reached dangerous levels of economic desperation and with his, debilitating social dislocation. All this suggests the growing possibility of a seismic rebellion by the Black underclass that will make the Arab Spring look like a kindergarten jamboree.
In honour of the sacrifices of people like Baba Chris Hani, South AfriKKKa’s Black political leadership must treat the restoration of the economic dignity of the Black majority as a national emergency. Anything other than this, will simply amount to a further betrayal of the sacrifices of people like Baba Chris Hani.
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