‘Don’t kill Chris Hani again’ challenges ANC’s modern path

Published Jul 8, 2024


The T-shirt slogan, “Don’t Kill Chris Hani Again”, worn by Honourable Panyaza Lesufi, the newly appointed Gauteng provincial premier, represents a powerful critique of the political landscape in South Africa.

The statement reflects a growing discontent with the perceived ideological compromises made by the ANC under President Cyril Ramaphosa, particularly in its alliance with the DA, a party historically associated with apartheid-era politics.

Chris Hani, a revered anti-apartheid revolutionary and a former leader SACP, symbolised a steadfast commitment to the liberation of black South Africans.

His assassination by right-wing extremists in 1993 was a devastating blow to the liberation movement. By invoking Hani’s legacy, Lesufi is not merely paying homage to a fallen hero but also issuing a stark warning against the erosion of the revolutionary ideals Hani stood for.

Lesufi’s bold gesture underscores a broader tension within the ANC, particularly in Gauteng, where many believe that the party has strayed from its roots.

The partnership with the DA, a party seen by some as a continuation of white minority interests, is viewed as a betrayal of the sacrifices made by Hani and other liberation icons like Steve Biko and Robert Sobukwe.

The leaders dedicated their lives to the emancipation of black people from systemic oppression, and any perceived alignment with former oppressors is seen as an affront to their memory.

The slogan “Don’t Kill Chris Hani Again” can be interpreted as a call to the ANC to return to its foundational principles of radical transformation and social justice.

It suggests that the leadership, particularly figures like Ramaphosa, who have been accused of benefiting from the apartheid system, must be held accountable for policies and alliances that may undermine the revolutionary aspirations of the ANC’s founders.

The sentiment resonates deeply among many black South Africans who feel that the socio-economic conditions of the majority have not significantly improved since the end of apartheid.

The perceived co-option of the ANC by neo-liberal interests has led to a growing sense of disillusionment and a call for a renewed commitment to the radical change envisioned by liberation leaders.

In this context, Lesufi and his Gauteng Provincial Committee are positioning themselves as the guardians of Hani’s revolutionary spirit, advocating for policies that prioritise the needs and aspirations of the black majority.

Their stance challenges the ANC’s trajectory and calls for a return to a more uncompromising approach to achieving true liberation.

The legacy of Hani, Biko and Sobukwe remains a potent symbol of resistance and hope for many South Africans. The mantra “Don’t Kill Chris Hani Again” serves as a reminder that the Struggle for total liberation is far from over and that the principles the leaders stood for must continue to guide the political discourse.

In a time of political compromise and careerist opportunism, Lesufi’s boldness and commitment to the ideals offer a rallying cry for all progressive black people to uphold the legacy of their heroes and fight for a future that honours their sacrifices.

Mbikwana is a local government expert and PhD candidate. He writes in his personal capacity