Getting to know Khaya Hani, who embodies African spirit while carrying grandfather’s spirit with her

Khaya Hani. Picture: Supplied

Khaya Hani. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 18, 2024


For 18-year-old Khaya Hani, being proudly African is part of her identity that she carries with her even though she has lived all her life in the hustle and bustle of the city of Joburg.

Hani, who happens to be the granddaughter of Struggle stalwart Chris Hani, is one of Saheti’s top achievers as part of the matric class of 2023.

The school was able to achieve a pass rate of 100%, thanks to her and her group of hard-working and dedicated learners.

Khaya achieved an average of 73% and three distinctions in her final examinations: English, history and life orientation.

Khaya plans to take some time away from the bubble of academia, at least for this year, and focus her energies on learning more about herself and the world around her.

Following a challenging and exciting year, who would not want to just take it easy and explore?

She speaks to The Star following a year of triumphs, challenges and excitement after her school achieved a 100% matric pass rate.

1. Who is Khaya Hani and where does she come from?

I’m proudly African, especially South African. I’ve lived in Johannesburg for my whole life and have enjoyed every second of it. On a deeper level, I am only at the beginning of understanding who I truly am. If you were to ask my mother, she would say that I’m a sassy know-it-all, if you were asking my teachers they would say I’m loud and opinionated but delightful. If you were to ask my grandmothers, I’m perfection in every form. In my opinion, I’m a kind, empathetic, fun-loving person who is inspired by the energy of those around her.

2. How would you describe your matric year 2023?

My matric year was both the best and worst years of my high school journey. There have been so many emotions swirling around me that I can’t tell the difference between the excitement and anxiety. They were so many highlights that we shared as a grade, from our debutante ball to our mutual stress over finals. It was a year of balance between my academics and social life. It was this year I learnt to trust myself and my abilities. It was this self-belief that got me through the year and will hopefully propel and sustain me through university. I really learnt a lot about myself, especially being part of the leadership team. I found myself being tested and figuring out what kind of leader I am and how I want to show up for people.

3. What were your challenges and how did you overcome them?

I faced various challenges whether it be academics or the constant pressure to perform that come with being a matriculant. At times it overwhelmed me, but it was the constant support of my family, friends and teachers that carried me through. Specifically, my mom who is my support beam and the light in the darkest of tunnels that guides me to the other side. My teachers always gave me unconditional support and advice when I felt lost or was struggling.

4. What are some of the lessons you have learnt about yourself during your matric year?

As a recent matriculant, I’ve emerged from this transformative year with a newfound understanding of my capabilities and resilience. The importance of collaboration became evident as I engaged in group projects, honing my communication skills and developing my leadership qualities. As well as balancing academic commitments with extracurricular activities taught me the value of a well-rounded life. Moreover, I found that my ability to adapt under unexpected situations. Overall, this matric year has been a journey of self-discovery, shaping the foundation for my future endeavours.

5. How did you balance school an other commitments?

Navigating through challenging projects and the demands of exams revealed my ability of perseverance and time management. I learnt to appreciate that my other commitments didn’t hinder my academics but rather served as a break from them, which improved my productivity.

6. What are your favourite subjects and what are your plans for this year?

My favourite subjects are English and history, which stimulate my curiosity and need to learn. Truly the things I enjoyed most about these subjects were the teachers that pushed me to constantly improve my academics. This year I hope to study psychology as well as to keep growing as a person. I hope to find out more about myself and who I am without the school bubble that I’ve grown accustomed too.

7. What inspires you about your family and your grandfather and what qualities do love about him?

Firstly, my family is like all others – we have our amazing times and moments of hardship. Both my mother and grandmother are single parents. I admire their tenacity, compassion, and dedication to the family. My mother is a big part of who I am today.

She raised me to be independent and empathetic towards people. She chose to take on her challenges and overcome them publicly. I am proud of everything my grandfather stood for; I wish I had met him. I feel him every day in my spirit and my need to help my community. My family has always supported me and has been a constant support system throughout my life.

The Star