Struggle hero Chris Hani remembered

MEMORIAL LECTURE: South African National Defence Force minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula Picture: SUPPLIED

April marks Chris Hani Month, when the late struggle stalwart’s legacy is commemorated in a number of celebrations annually in the region.

However, Chris Hani District Municipality had to cancel the events at the start of the pandemic outbreak last year, with only minimal items this year. But the month could not end without the municipality at least holding a memorial lecture to allow Hani’s values to infiltrate for progress in the region.

The Chris Hani memorial lecture was delivered virtually by national defence minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula on Friday.

She was one of the people who worked with him when he was alive.

Mapisa-Nqakula said South Africans were celebrating 27 years of the freedom and democracy that Hani had fought and died for.

She said Hani was a studious person who, at some point, completed two school grades in one year.

”He did not stop there but went to university at Fort Hare, majoring in English, Latin and literature.

”The question his contemporaries and successive generations will continue to ask is why he joined the armed struggle when he was a graduate and an intellectual of note.

”I can proudly say it was because of the type of person he was – full of courage, bravery and determination.”

Nqakula said this was why it was not surprising that Hani had led some people within MK to petition the leadership in exile for an escalation of the armed struggle and return to the country, in what is referred to as the Hani Memorandum.

”His fierce determination saw him being deployed to the then Rhodesia as part of the Wankie-Sipolilo Campaign, a military alliance with the Zimbabwean Peoples’ Revolutionary Army, Zipra. ”This operation saw the first armed action en route to South Africa and heavy casualties were inflicted on the Rhodesian armed forces, even though MK suffered casualties and some were captured.”

While Hani’s legacy was being honoured and commemorated, the defence minister said he would have wondered how unique today’s challenges were, compared with those of his time. ”

While his translated to a banned organisation when the suppression of black people was at the highest peak, it was a movement operating under severely difficult conditions.

”He would question how it was possible that there were challenges of the African people in a free, non-racial and non-sexist country, at a time when resources at our disposal abounded.”

She said the Chris Hani she knew was a political and military leader, a strategist, an intellectual, humane person who had love for his people.

”As we continue to honour and celebrate the life and times of Hani, one of the best ways we can ensure his memory lives on is to ensure that the lives of the military veterans in MK are improved- through the provision and delivery of benefits such as housing, education and health in the Chris Hani District Municipality, in the province and nationally.”

Chris Hani district mayor Gela said the month of April could not pass without Chris Hani being remembered. ”The lecture was to remind people of the values that Hani held dear, along with the values we are striving to live up to, which are commitment, humanity, respect, integrity, honesty, accountability, nurturing as well as innovation. ”The lecture was to align the giant life of a hero to the challenges and direction the
country is taking and should adopt.”

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