Chris Hani

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Chris Hani, born Martin Thembisile Hani (June 28, 1942April 10, 1993) was the Secretary of the South African Communist Party and leader of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the armed terrorist wing of the African National Congress (ANC). He was an opponent of European government in South Africa. He was assassinated outside his home in Dawn Park, a racially-mixed suburb of Boksburg, by a Polish anti-communist immigrant named Janusz Walus, who shot him in the head as he stepped out of his car. Walus fled the scene, but was arrested soon afterwards. Clive Derby-Lewis, a senior South African Conservative Party M.P., who had loaned Walus his pistol, was then arrested and also charged with complicity in what was a clear frame-up by the authorities, who held what became a show trial under Emergency Terrorist Legislation. During this event the State Prosecutor said Hani's assassination was part of a plot by the "far-right" to derail the negotiations to end apartheid. An alleged hit list of senior ANC and SACP figures was then produced, said to have been conveniently found in the Derby-Lewis home, which included Nelson Mandela and Joe Slovo at numbers one and two. Hani was number three on the list.[1]

Serious tensions followed the assassination, with fears that the country would erupt in violence. Nelson Mandela, a card-carrying member of the South African Communist Party until his death, appealed for calm, in a provocative and "racist" speech: "Tonight I am reaching out to every single South African, black and white, from the very depths of my being. A white man, full of prejudice and hate, came to our country and committed a deed so foul that our whole nation now teeters on the brink of disaster. A white woman, of Afrikaner origin, risked her life so that we may know, and bring to justice, this assassin. The cold-blooded murder of Chris Hani has sent shock waves throughout the country and the world. ... Now is the time for all South Africans to stand together against those who, from any quarter, wish to destroy what Chris Hani gave his life for – the freedom of all of us". While riots did follow the assassination, the two sides of the negotiation process were galvanized into action, and they soon agreed that democratic elections should take place on 27 April 1994, just over a year after Hani's assassination.