25 years after his assassination: Chris Hani in his own words

Struggle icon Chris Hani was the leader of the South African Communist Party and Umkhonto weSizwe. (File, Gallo)
Struggle icon Chris Hani was the leader of the South African Communist Party and Umkhonto weSizwe. (File, Gallo)

Second to former president Nelson Mandela, Chris Hani was the most famous and iconic leader of the struggle for liberation in South Africa during the late 1980s.

Tuesday 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."

ALSO READ: Hani's house nominated as a provincial heritage site

"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."

Struggle icon Chris Hani was a fierce opponent of
Struggle icon Chris Hani was a fierce opponent of the apartheid government. (File, Gallo)


"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 Benzes and use the resources of this country to live in palaces and to gather riches."

ALSO READ: Nzimande: SACP wants inquiry into Hani's murder

"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."

Chris Hani with fellow struggle icon Winnie Madiki
Chris Hani with fellow struggle icon Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 1991. (File, Gallo)


"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."

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