Where were you when Chris Hani was killed?

Chris Hani, a prominent ANC and Communist Party leader, was murdered on April 10, 1993, by white racists. The writer remembers hearing the news.

Downtown Johannesburg (Photo: Martyn Smith via Flickr CC).

On the day Chris Hani died, I was in our flat on Grafton and Minors in Yeoville. My dad called.  I turned on the TV to hear the worst news. I remember being quite hysterical, laughing, not because I thought it was funny.  Somehow, tears seemed too little and my emotions were confused.  I hear that an aunt of mine laughs when she is sad.  I had only had occasion to meet him once.  We were visiting Umkhonto weSizwe cadres on hunger strike in hospital: Neo, Ting Ting, Jabu.  I had a crush on Ting.  We were sitting on the floor in the corridor of the hospital one fine day, an ordinary day, waiting for the doctors to tend to our comrades.  Then, the light became brighter, the world slowed down, and walking down the corridor in a haze of nostalgia was our hero, Chris Hani.  He shook our hands.  And we were forever touched.

Central Johannesburg (Simon Inns via Flickr).

When he was murdered, we drove with our neighbor Andrew who was also a soldier, to visit his family in Boksburg.  We were lost in Vosloo looking for the place.  I pulled over and asked someone, where is Dawn Park? he didn’t understand me.  Andrew leaned over and said, “Dawna Puck.”  He directed us there.  My silly colonial monotone.

I like to think that Chris, Ting Ting and Andrew are together now, looking out for us, reining us in, and maybe even steering us back on track.

Rest in power, our comrades.  You will never be forgotten.

Further Reading

An unfinished project

Christian theology was appropriated to play an integral role in the justifying apartheid’s racist ideology. Black theologians resisted through a theology of the oppressed.