About this site

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. It is the product of almost two decades of research and includes analyses, chronologies, historical documents, and interviews from the apartheid and post-apartheid eras.

Hani, Chris

1943 - 1993

Chris Hani was born in rural Transkei. He matriculated from the Lovedale Institute in 1958 and went on to study at the University of Fort Hare and later Rhodes University, Grahamstown, obtaining a BA degree in Latin and English.

Hani joined the African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) in 1957. In Cape Town Hani became involved in the South African Congress of Trade Unions (SACTU). He also joined Umkontho We Sizwe, the ANC's military wing, which was banned in 1960. In 1962 Hani became part of the leadership of the Western Cape branch.

He underwent military training in Zambia and became Commissar of the famous Luthuli Regiment of Umkhontho we Sizwe in 1967. Hani re-entered South Africa secretly in 1973 to establish an underground infrastructure for the ANC in the Western Cape. He moved to Zambia, where he was appointed Deputy Commander of Umkontho. By 1987 Hani had become Chief of Staff of Umkhontho.

Hani returned to South Africa in 1990. He became a member of the Politburo of the South African Communist party (SACP) when Joe Slovo retired because of ill health. Hani became Secretary-General of the SACP in 1991.

On 10 April 1993 Hani was shot dead outside his Boksburg home by Janus Walus, who was jailed with Clive Derby-Lewis for the killing.

This resource is hosted by the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, but was compiled and authored by Padraig O’Malley. Return to the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory site.