Chris Hani in his own words

Chris Hani was the one of the  most famous and iconic leaders of the struggle for liberation in South Africa during the late 1980s. 

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the struggle hero’s death.

Images of his lifeless body lying in the driveway of his Boksburg home are still etched in the minds of most South Africans. It was expected that his death would plunge the country into a civil war, but the country managed to bring itself back from the precipice.

These are Hani’s own words, from interviews after his return from exile:

“It makes me realise with impatience the need to defeat this regime. I don’t mince my words when I am speaking about this regime, I hate it intensely.”

“I disagree with a lot of people who think that (former apartheid president) FW de Klerk and others have changed.”

“Some of us have got reservations about the amnesty they are talking about. Before you consider amnesty, let us see what they did. When we were coming back they forced us to fill forms to say what we did and I think that should apply to them as well.”

“I’m happy to say that Morogoro (in Tanzania) conference ushered in serious discussion which led for the first time to the formulation of a clear strategy, the waging of a revolutionary war in the country.”

On the decision to suspend the armed struggle in 1991:

“I want to be honest, I was annoyed… I was angry and bitter that this decision was taken without comprehensive consultation.”

“When there was that press conference early in the morning announcing the suspension of military activities, I felt like crying.”


The future:

“What I fear is that the liberators emerge as elitists who drive around in Mercedes Benz’s and use the resources of this country to live in palaces and to gather riches.”

“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.”

“We need to create the pathways to give hope to our youth [so] that they can have the opportunity through education and hard work to escape the trap of poverty. ― News24

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Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa
Lizeka Tandwa Associate Leturer and Co-ordinator of the Honors Programme.
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