Nelson Mandela’s speech after the death of Chris Hani

On 10 April 1993, the leader of the South African Communist Party (SACP) and chief of staff of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC) Chris Hani was assassinated outside his home in Boksburg. His murder was a near breaking point which could have resulted in a civil or rather race war and halt the process for reconciliation and the quest for a united democratic South Africa. The assassin Janusz WaluÅ› and his accomplice Clive Derby-Lewis admitted during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) that they murdered Hani and their intent was to provoke a race war and derail the negotiation process that would inevitably lead to the end of white minority rule.

 It was Nelson Mandela who addressed the nation in his capacity as the President of the African National Congress (ANC) and appealed to the nation to use Hani’s death to affirm his views of peace and a united democratic South Africa for which he fought.. Mandela's speech helped to keep in check Black anger that could have spilled out after the murder.

Mandela and the ANC also used this tragic death strategically to force the Apartheid government to agree on the election date to appease the angry nation. After his speech it was quite clear that the then President De Klerk was no longer in charge of country.

In his own words “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”¦ Our decisions and actions will determine whether we use our pain, our grief and our outrage to move forward to what is the only lasting solution for our country - an elected government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

• Mandela,  N., (1993). Television address to the nation by ANC President Nelson Mandela on the assassination of Chris Hanion 13April, from the African National Congress South Africa National Liberation Movement, 13 April [online], Available at  [Accessed 19 November 2010]

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