Chris Hani Biography, Honours, Assasination

Chris Hani Biography

Chris Hani whose birth name is born Martin Thembisile Hani was born on 28th June 1942 in Transkei, South Africa and died on 10th April 1993. He was the leader of the South African Communist Party and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC).

Chris Hani Education Background

Chris Hani attended Lovedale school in 1957, to finish his last two years. He twice finished two school grades in a single year.

He attended Lovedale school and later the University of Fort Hare in Alice, Eastern Cape where he studied English, Latin and Modern and Classical literature.

Chris Hani Political and Military Career

At the age of 12 years after hearing his father’s explanations about apartheid and the African National Congress, he wished to join the ANC but was still too young to be accepted.

At the age of 15 when he was at Lovedale he joined the ANC Youth League, even though political activities were not allowed at black schools under apartheid. He influenced other students to join the ANC.

After his graduation he joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the ANC.In 1963 he went into exile in Lesotho following his arrest under the Suppression of Communism Act.Due to his involvement with Umkhonto he was forced into hiding by the South African government during which time he changed his first name to Chris.

He received military training in the Soviet Union and served in campaigns in the Zimbabwean War of Liberation, also called the Rhodesian Bush War. They were joint operations between Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) and the Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army in the late 1960s.

In Lesotho he organised guerrilla operations of the MK in South Africa. As head of Umkhonto we Sizwe, he was responsible for the suppression of a mutiny by dissident anti-Communist ANC members in detention camps, but denied any role in abuses including torture and murder.

He returned to South Africa after the unbanning of the ANC in 1990 and took over from Joe Slovo as head of the South African Communist Party on the 8 December 1991.He supported the suspension of the ANC’s armed struggle in favour of negotiations.

Chris Hani Assassination

On 10th April 1993 he was assassinated outside his home in Dawn Park.He was shot in the head and back as he stepped out of his car by Janusz Walus.

Walusfled the scene but was arrested soon afterwards. Clive Derby-Lewis, a senior South African Conservative Party M.P. and Shadow Minister for Economic Affairs at the time, who had lent Waluś his pistol, was also arrested for complicity in Hani’s murder.

Historically, the assassination is seen as a turning point. Serious tensions followed the assassination, with fears that the country would erupt in violence. Nelson Mandela addressed the nation appealing for calm, in a speech regarded as ‘presidential’ even though he was not yet president of the country

Chris Hani Honours

In 1993, French philosopher Jacques Derrida dedicated Spectres de Marx (1993) to Hani.

In 1997 Baragwanath Hospital was renamed the Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in his memory.

In September 2004, Hani was voted 20th in the controversial Top 100 Greatest South Africans poll.

In 2009, after extension of Cape Town’s Central Line, the new terminus serving eastern areas of Khayelitsha was christened Chris Hani.

Chris Hani Photo

Chris Hani

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