Struggle hero Chris Hani remembered

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The City of Ekurhuleni annually commemorates the life and times of the late Communist Party and Umkhonto Wesizwe leader, Thembisile ‘Chris’ Hani. This year, while observing COVID-19 protocols, the City invited President Ramaphosa to join in the honorary event.

It has been 28 years since the brutal killing of the struggle stalwart Chris Hani outside his home at Dawn Park in Boksburg.

In November 2006, the City of Ekurhuleni resolved to adopt April as the month in which the life and legacy of the late Chris Hani would be commemorated and celebrated on an annual basis.

President Ramaphosa with Executive Mayor Cllr Mzwandile Masina and the Hani family led the wreath-laying ceremony at Thomas Nkobi Memorial Park in honour of the life of Chris Hani on Saturday, April 10.

The group also laid fresh flowers at the gravesite of late ANC leader Thomas and wife Winifred Nkobi, which is located alongside Hani’s final resting place.

The wife of the late struggle icon Mama Limpho Hani remembered Chris Hani as a unifier and pleaded with everyone in attendance to embrace the spirit of unity.

Executive Mayor Cllr Mzwandile echoed Mama Limpho’s sentiments of upholding unity and assured her that the city will continue to honour the ideals with which Chris Hani lived.

Who was Chris Hani

Remembering Chris Hani 28 years after his assassination

Thembisile Chris Hani was born on 28 June 1942 in the rural village of Sabalele, in the Cofimvaba region of the former Transkei. He was the fifth of the six children of Gilbert and Mary Hani, and one of the three that did not die during infancy.

The name ‘Chris’ was adopted by him as a nom de guerre, and was in fact the real name of his brother. Chris grew up a devout Christian.

Hani was introduced to the politics of inequality early in life, when his father had to leave their rural home in search of work in the urban areas of South Africa. This had a profound influence on the young Chris, who became aware of his mother’s struggle to run the household. Like other young men of his age, Chris tended the livestock until he reached school-going age.

Hani was exposed to political thought from a very young age through his father, Gilbert Hani, who was active in the ANC and eventually left South Africa and sought asylum in Lesotho. However, Hani’s political involvement really began in 1957 when he became a member of the African National Congress’ Youth League (ANCYL). He cited the conviction of the ANC’s leaders in the Treason Trial (1956) as his main motivation to begin participating in the struggle for freedom.

READ: THE LIFE AND TIMES OF THEMBISILE CHRIS HANI ON SA HISTORY ARCHIVES

On 10 April 1993, as he returned home to the racially mixed suburb of Dawn Park, Boksburg, Hani was assassinated by Januzs Walus, an anti-Communist Polish refugee who had close links to the White nationalist AWB.

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