Chris Hani Image by Graham Michael Lesch

Chris Hani

“I was born in a small rural town in the Transkei called Cofimvaba. This town is almost two hundred kilometres from East London. I am the fifth child in a family of six. My mother is completely illiterate and my father semi-literate. My father was a migrant worker in the mines in the Transvaal, but he subsequently became an unskilled worker in the building industry. Our mother had to supplement the family budget through subsistence farming. She had to bring us up with very little assistance from my father who was always away working for the white capitalists. I had to walk twenty kilometres to school every five days and then walk the same distance to church every Sunday. At the age of eight I was already an altar boy in the Catholic church and was quite devout. After finishing my primary school education, I had a burning desire to become a priest but this was vetoed by my father. In 1954, while I was doing my secondary education, the apartheid regime introduced Bantu Education which was designed to indoctrinate African pupils to accept and recognise the supremacy of the white man over the blacks in all spheres. This angered and outraged us and paved the way for my involvement in the struggle. In 1961 I joined the underground South African Communist Party as I realised that national liberation, though essential, would not bring about total economic liberation. My decision to join the Party was influenced by such greats of our struggle like Govan Mbeki, Braam Fischer, JB Marks, Moses Kotane, Ray Simons, etc. ” Chris Hani, writing February 1991 (A.N.C. online).

“Chris Hani would have been the president. The Americans and South Africans were scared of Chris Hani. They had to assassinate Chris Hani because they did not want communism taking over here. The Americans are fanatically anti-communist. They did not want a foothold of communism in Africa.” Graham Michael Lesch

Shadows of Justice

Find these stories and others in Shadows of Justice, a history from the other side and a real perspective on the liberation struggle for South Africa's peaceful transformation.