Lessons every South African can learn from the life of Chris Hani

When Chris Hani was murdered 22 years ago on this day (April 10), was a near breaking point which could have resulted in a civil or rather race war and halt the process for reconciliation and the quest for a united democratic South Africa.

The assassin Janusz Waluś and his accomplice Clive Derby-Lewis admitted during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that they murdered Hani and their intent was to provoke a race war and derail the negotiation process that would inevitably lead to the end of white minority rule.

It was Nelson Mandela who addressed the nation in his capacity as the President of the African National Congress (ANC) and appealed to the nation to use Hani’s death to affirm his views of peace and a united democratic South Africa for which he fought.

Mandela’s speech helped to keep in check Black anger that could have spilled out after the murder.

In his own words “Now is the time for all South Africans to stand together against those who, from any quarter, wish to destroy what Chris Hani gave his life for – the freedom of all of us…

“Our decisions and actions will determine whether we use our pain, our grief and our outrage to move forward to what is the only lasting solution for our country – an elected government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

What all South Africans can learn from the life of Chris Hani

On life and the struggle:

“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 to 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”.

On peace:

“What we need in South Africa is for egos to be suppressed in favour of peace. We need to create a new breed of South Africans who love their country and love everybody, irrespective of their colour”.

On education:

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

On the new government:

“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 be-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.”

On death:

“The police see me as the brains and key strategist. I have given up trying to prove that I am campaigning for peace. These guys see me as someone who is bad news. I fear that there are people who have the capacity to eliminate me. I am frightened about what they are planning”.

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