Fort Hare honours the life and legacy of Chris Hani

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Thirty years after Chris Hani was assassinated on the 10th of April 1993, the University of Fort Hare through its Centre for Leadership Ethics in Africa (CLEA) hosted a memorial seminar in celebration of the life and legacy of the South African Communist Party leader.

Held on the 14th of April at the De Beers Arts Gallery on the University’s Alice Campus, the objective was to share the thoughts of the gifted and charismatic leader who fought for a society free of racism and to measure how far South Africa has gone and the shortcomings in realizing Hani’s ideologies.

Head of CLEA, Dr Chris Alsobrook described Hani as a fearless leader who always looked forward to uplifting the poor of the poorest, a person who was never enticed by the perks of the new government. The session was also a reminder to the audience about the importance of ethical leadership to guide the country into a renewed path.

Five speakers were lined up to deliver on the legacy of one of Fort Hare’s esteemed alumni luminaries, they included:

  1. Cleopatra Hani, Hani daughter;
  2. Temba Hani, Chris Hani’s cousin;
  3. Dr Vuyani Booi, a former student and employee at UFH’s Liberation Archives who is currently the CEO of the Nelson Mandela Museum;
  4. Evelien Groenink, award-winning Investigative Journalist and Author;
  5. Kwezi Mbasa, a senior economic and social policy researcher at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in South Africa, is also a former MISTRA researcher in the faculty of political economy and has served as national social policy coordinator for COSATU;
  6. Nelisa Tona, UFH History Honours student;

Straight talking Cleo said it was painful to witness that even after 30 years, some of the struggles remain. She lamented on the lack of service delivery to communities, the unfair treatment of MK Veterans and education institutions that are in shambles. She wondered whether the young people of today would fit in the digital world or would just follow what others are doing and not take the lead. “We must speak the truth our country is in shambles,” she stressed.

Themba Hani, described “Chris” as brave and strong-headed and a person who had the ability to stand for what he believed is his at a tender age. “His life taught us to be humble and to have boundaries. His life was about access to land and health care”. He thanked the SACP for entrusting Chris with such a responsibility and for being honest to all South Africans. He called on the government to name one of the Presidential awards after Chris. 


By Mawande Mrashula and Mnikelo Fadane