Remembering Chris Hani by Mpho Raphata – Kaya FM News
April 10 1993, I had just turned 17 a few months before, in a South Africa that was on the road to democracy. In a country that was negotiating a peaceful transition to democracy. It was over the Easter holiday break, and I remember sitting at home with the radio in the background.
The radio broadcast was interrupted and the voice on the other side of the speaker said slowly that “We have just been informed that Chris Hani has been shot and killed outside his home.” Moments later, my mother came screaming down the passage asking who? And the broadcaster repeated himself, saying Chris Hani was shot and killed.
Because I had politically active friends, I had heard of and seen Chris Hani on TV, but I didn’t know how much respect his comrades and peers had for him. It was only after I heard commentary on the radio after the initial broadcast that I realised what had just happened.
It shocked me that drive by shootings happen in real life, and that a white man had done this?
It made me wonder what would happen next, on the TV, all we saw was Hani’s lifeless body lying in his drive way in a pool of blood.
When I saw visuals of his daughter crying, I remember thinking, how unfair, that she at that young age, had to see her hero, her father lying lifeless and not being able to do a thing about it.
On that day I came face to face with the hatred some white people have for black people and it really hurt.
In the days that followed that fateful event South Africa was abuzz, leaders were trying to defuse a time bomb about to explode. In fact many believed that that event could have plunged us into civil war.
I remember Tata Mabiba calling for calm; I remember a packed FNB stadium on the day of the funeral and even though the thousands of people at the funeral were asked not to go to the cemetery, throngs were there to say a final goodbye to their commander, the commissar.
As I reflect on the man that was Chris Hani and I look at the current South Africa, I ask myself what kind of country would we be living in if Hani was still alive? What impact would he have had on the country’s political landscape?
As I ponder all I can hear in the back of my mind is thousands saluting Hani singing “ Hamba…hamba kahle mkhonto , mkhoto we sizwe – A real peer of the nation…