File: As a military commander Chris Hani speaks about fighting capitalism and oppression during the Rhodesian Bush War (Zimbabwe) in 1967.
JOHANNESBURG - Chris Hani’s assassination 22 years ago, on 10 April 1993, shook the foundations of the anti-apartheid movement.
eNCA spoke to some of the journalists who covered that turbulent period in South Africa’s history.
Former talk show host, David O&39;Sullivan said, “It was quite bizarre because it was Easter Saturday it was incredibly quiet and I knew that in an hour’s time this country was about to explode in one way or another.”
“I got a call from my office to say, because I live nearer to Dawn Park where Chris Hani lived I should rush there,” said Rich Mkhondo.
Former Talk Radio 702 reporter Judith Dubin told eNCA, “My first reaction was this is a hoax, it can’t be.”
One of the first journalists on the scene was former SABC anchor and Chris Hani’s neighbour, Noxolo Grootboom.
She said, “When I heard gun shots, I immediately ran out of the bedroom, my bedroom to the boy’s bedroom, and I looked through the window and I saw a car coming out - leisurely out - of Chris Hani’s house taking a u-turn and driving the other way.”
“I heard Chris’ daughter Kwezi crying. I rushed out of the house and then I saw her, she came to me running. And I went over (to) the house and I saw Chris laying there, clutching a newspaper, and I think he was dead.”
It wasn’t long before throngs of journalists and prominent political figures arrived at the Hani home.
Fomer Reuters correspondent Rich Mkhondo remembers, “I arrived, I think, two minutes after Tokyo Sexwale had arrived.
"And so he (Sexwale) started crying, so we all actually started crying because we could not believe what was going on.”
Judith Dubin, former Talk Radio 702 reporter said, “I clearly remember Oliver Tambo who looked very frail and I believed died about two weeks later.
"Oliver Tambo came to see the body, you know Winnie Mandela clearly distraught, Walter Sisulu.”
Upon returning to their newsrooms, journalists faced tough editorial decisions.
Former photojournalist Debbi Yazbek recalls, “We had all these images of the actual scene and the argument I had with the editor at the time, because we had a discussion about which picture would be used, and he insisted on using a full face of Hani and (I) said to him you can’t do that these people have gone through enough.”
It’s a memory that will forever be etched in the minds of these journalistts.
Mkhondo told eNCA, “I had seen many people killed but not the way Chris Hani was killed.”
Grootboom said, “It is consoling that (Chris Hani&39;s) child. You know, it’s something else.”
Yazbek said, “I was drained of any emotion because it was just like numbness…now what?”
Sullivan said, “He was taken at such a crucial time that we were put on the edge of a civil war.
"Thank God for Nelson Mandela’s intervention that night on television where he was able to calm things down.”
In one of the last recorded interviews with Chris Hani, eight days before he was killed, he spoke of a new enemy.
He said socio-economic restructuring would become the next challenge - a prediction that remains a major obstacle for democratic South Africa.
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