Revolutionary Papers

Revolutionary Papers is a transnational research collaboration exploring 20th century periodicals of Leftanti-imperial and anti-colonial critical production. Read More

Dawn: sites of struggle, contested historical narratives and the making of the disciplined cadre
1. The Demand of the Time
2. Historical and political contests
3. Mythologising Hani
4. Disciplining the undisciplined cadre
5. Echoes and Returns
6. Bibliography

Dawn: sites of struggle, contested historical narratives and the making of the disciplined cadre

Dawn: sites of struggle, contested historical narratives and the making of the disciplined cadre

Presented by

— Sam Longford
Sam Longford is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of History, UWC, and coordinator of the Remaking Societies Remaking Persons (RSRP) Forum. His PhD dissertation, “The Untimely Deaths of Chris Hani: Discipline, Spectrality, and the Haunting Possibility of Return”, was grounded by a sustained engagement with public history, anti-apartheid struggle historiography, and different philosophies of history and of social change.

Last Updated
This tool is intermittently updated to integrate new information sent to the authors.

24 April 2022
Cover of Dawn: Journal of Umkhonto wa Sizwe

Dawn: Journal of Umkhonto wa Sizwe, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1986.

This teaching tool focuses on Dawn, the official organ of Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), or ‘Spear of the Nation’, which was the military wing of the African National Congress (ANC) and the South African Communist Party (SACP). Founded after the banning of organisations associated with the Congress Alliance and the ‘turn to armed struggle’ in 1961, Dawn’s primary functions were to keep MK cadres in exile informed about the struggle against apartheid, to inspire the people of South Africa to become ‘Freedom Fighters for their country’, and to build and maintain the legend of MK and its fighters. Over the course of almost thirty years (1961-1990), hundreds of editions of Dawn were published. It therefore serves as a critical means through which to understand the contested histories of MK and the Congress Alliance as well as the debates, theories and political tendencies that informed and influenced their political, military, and ideological struggles.

The logo of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK) which displays a person holding a shield and throwing a spear.

The logo of Umkhonto weSizwe (MK). Source: South African History Online.

In addition to a general overview of Dawn, this teaching tool also offers a close reading of a 1986 edition which includes insights from the author’s PhD dissertation. The timing of this edition of Dawn was important for a number of reasons. On the one hand, the mid-1980s marked a period when the ANC and its allies escalated their armed struggle against apartheid. Whereas on the other, 1986 marks the end and aftermath of the Mkatashinga mutiny which occurred in MK camps in Angola. The Mkatashinga mutiny took the form of three separate mutinies which resulted in casualties, several executions and the torture and detention without trial of MK’s rebels. It is this contested historical conjuncture that this teaching tool attempts to understand, not only in terms of the anti-apartheid struggle and southern African historiography, but also as a means to trace the ways in which these histories and legacies manifest today in postapartheid South Africa.

What follows are a series of edited extracts from the author’s PhD which include discussions about the Mkatashinga mutiny, the mythologisation of Chris Hani, and revolutionary discipline. These extracts are interwoven with Dawn articles, photographs, short stories, and artworks which can either be read alongside the main text or can be treated as stand alone articles and sources.


    The Demand of the Time

    Contents page from Dawn: Journal of Umkhonto wa Sizwe

    Contents page from Dawn: Journal of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1986.

    In a 1986 Dawn article, ‘The Demand of the Time’, the Deputy Commander of MK, Chris Hani, addressed the army in preparation for “the escalation of armed struggle” in South Africa. According to him, conditions inside the country had never been more suitable for the military overthrow of the apartheid regime: the South African people were rising up in revolt and it was MK’s responsibility to further render “the country ungovernable and the system of apartheid unworkable”. Therefore, cadres “must be literally ready to walk, if necessary for hundreds of kilometres” to their country in order to contribute to, and ultimately lead the armed struggle against apartheid.

    Excerpt from Dawn, article titled The First Known Explosion

    ‘The First Known Explosion’, Dawn: Journal of Umkhonto wa Sizwe, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1986, 10.

    To do this MK would need to prepare fully, both physically and mentally, and eradicate “unfortunate examples” of the “frivolous requirements of life” which had been inherited “from the system of oppression”. Instead of betraying the “trust given to them”, Hani urged cadres to maintain a “high spirit of discipline, commitment, and revolutionary zeal”, to foster a deep “love and respect for the people”, sharpen their “hatred for the enemy”, and in the process “become cadres, fighters and revolutionaries of a new type”. This was the demand of the time, and for Hani this required a special kind of revolutionary, one whom, if committed to the ‘correct positions’, could help to bring about a new society free from apartheid.

    Excerpt from Dawn, article titled The First Known Explosion. Includes a photo of P. J. Jack Hodgson.

    ‘The First Known Explosion’, Dawn: Journal of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1986, 11.

    ‘The Demand of the Time’ was accompanied by a rich array of articles that cemented Hani’s position. They included an editorial, ‘Apartheid in Crisis’, which called for the destruction of apartheid not its reform; an article, ‘MK Soldiers Viewpoint – Cadre of a new type’ by Muntu Khoza; a history and diagnostic of the ‘the most successful rifle [the AK47] ever designed’; a useful point-by-point guide to sabotaging railroads and communication lines in South Africa; a short story about resistance in Johannesburg by Mongane Serote; poetry and anti-apartheid cartoons; articles on the FLN (Front de Libération Nationale) and the ALN (Armée de Libération Nationale) in Algeria, the ‘first known explosion’ of MK in 1961, as well as rural struggles in the Northern Cape.

    Excerpt from Dawn, article titled The First Known Explosion. Includes an illustration that depicts Nelson Mandela along with MK soldiers holding rifles aloft.

    ‘The First Known Explosion’, Dawn: Journal of Umkhonto we Sizwe, Vol. 10, No. 2, 1986, 12.

    Dawn began though, with political slogans and, presented on its front cover, an archetypal image of guerrilla fighters. In the foreground of this photograph two soldiers appear to be waiting, crouched in cover. One, clothed in the iconic uniform of the revolutionary, holds what looks like an AK47. The other, camouflaged and barely visible, crouches behind with a long-barrelled rifle. At first glance they appear to be alone in the bush. But in the background the silhouette of at least one more cadre is visible. Although the provenance of this image is unknown at this stage, it seems that it is meant to depict the modern guerrilla – alert, trained, disciplined, and poised for action – who traces his or her lineage back to some of the first colonial resistors depicted in MK’s emblem, and was perhaps used to invoke the famous 1967 Wankie campaign, to which we will return to later in this teaching tool.



      Chris Hani

      Illustrated portrait of Chris Hani as published in the journal Dawn in 1986

      Chris Hani portrait (from Dawn Souvenir issue, 1986)

      Chris Hani was a leading member of the ANC, the SACP, and MK, rising from the rank-and-file to become the second most popular leader of the Congress Alliance after Nelson Mandela. Alongside Thabo Mbeki he became the youngest member of the ANC National Executive Committee in 1975 and dedicated his life to the military overthrow of the apartheid regime. Hani was born in 1942 into what he described as the “extreme poverty” of the rural Transkei,1Reiner Leist, interview with Chris Hani, 1992 (Wits Historical Papers (WHP), University of the Witwatersrand, A3395). was pursued throughout his life by a violent apartheid state while serving in the command structures of the South African Communist Party (SACP), the African National Congress (ANC), and the Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), and survived a number of attempts on his life before he was ultimately assassinated outside of his Dawn Park home by Janus Walus on 10 April 1993.

      During their Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) hearing, Walus and Conservative Party MP, Clive Derby-Lewis, stated that they had carried out Hani’s assassination in order to destabilise negotiations between the National Party government and organisations aligned with the anti-apartheid struggle, and to plunge South Africa into civil war. Indeed, news of his assassination almost had this effect. According to popular accounts, it was only Mandela’s live televised address to the nation that calmed the situation. Hani’s assassination is therefore remembered as one of the pivotal moments in the transition to democracy. Not only was this because of its immediate after-effects, but also because after this event, the ANC under Mandela’s leadership, was affirmed as the new sovereign power, the only organisation that could manage the diverse interests of the Tripartite Alliance and the South African people and establish peace in the postapartheid. Hani, however, remains a contested figure today. For those aligned with the ANC’s post-apartheid project, Hani has become a symbol freedom and of the sacrifices made by the ANC during the anti-apartheid struggle. Whereas for others, Hani’s revolutionary legacy haunts the ANC’s post-apartheid project and unsettles the ANC’s triumphalist narratives. These latter issues are discussed extensively in the author’s PhD dissertation, but will also be touched upon toward the end of this teaching tool.

      Excerpt from Dawn titled Chris Hani, a drawing by a close political activist
      Excerpt from Dawn titled Chris Hani, a drawing by a close political activist

      ▴ From Dawn Souvenir issue, 1986. Courtesy of Digital Innovation South Africa

      1. Reiner Leist, interview with Chris Hani, 1992 (Wits Historical Papers (WHP), University of the Witwatersrand, A3395).


      Kabwe was the ANC’s second National Consultative Conference held in Kabwe, Zambia. It took place in June 1985, and is most famous for the ANC/SACP’s resolutions that a) the ANC would now allow membership from all, regardless of their racial classification, and b) the ANC and its allies would begin to escalate its armed struggle against apartheid.

      Photo of Mac Maharaj speaking at the Kabwe Conference, 1985. Seated behind him is Chris Hani.

      Mac Maharaj speaking at the Kabwe Conference, 1985. Seated behind him is Chris Hani. Source: Stephen Ellis and Tsepo Sechaba, Comrades against Apartheid: The ANC and the South African Communist Party in Exile (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1992).


      Further reading:

      Sechaba, August 1985 (Available online at:


        Total War

        The Total War strategy refers to apartheid President, P.W. Botha’s tactical shift in the early 1980s. This strategy was devised to both appease Black South Africa with reforms, thus attempting to show apartheid’s ‘softer’ side, and by intensifying troop deployment both in South Africa and against anti-apartheid movements in exile. This latter strategy was accompanied by economic investments and incentives for neighbouring states in southern Africa in order to draw them under South Africa’s ambit.


          Historical and political contests

          The timing of this edition of Dawn is important for a number of reasons. On the one hand, the mid-1980s mark the beginning of a new, post-Kabwe (June 1985) era during which the Congress Alliance would escalate the struggle against apartheid. As Hani explained in ‘The Demand of the Time’, “1985 was a year of the biggest number of operations” in South Africa. To be sure, MK’s operations had “increased from around 50 in 1984 to 230 in 1986”.1T. Gibbs, Mandela’s Kinsmen, 124 According to Gregory Houston, writing for the liberation history project, South African Democracy Education Trust (SADET), this escalation was in response to an increasingly violent apartheid security force, which only two days before the Kabwe Conference had carried out a cross-border raid in Botswana, killing 12 people, including civilians. It was also in support of widespread uprisings in South Africa which had begun to take on a revolutionary character.2G. Houston, The Road to Democracy in South Africa From this perspective, then, we might understand Kabwe as a response to apartheid’s ‘Total War’ strategy, and as the catalyst for the ANC/SACP’s transition to a new stage of struggle, and this edition of Dawn as an assertion of the new party line.

          Photo of Joe Slovo, Chris Hani and Joe Modise (right) at the Kabwe Conference, 1985.

          Joe Slovo (left), Chris Hani (centre) and Joe Modise (right) at the Kabwe Conference, 1985. (Image Source: Comrades against Apartheid book).

          However, other accounts highlight a different history that culminated in one of the most controversial events in ANC history; the Mkatashinga mutiny.3There are contested narratives surrounding the Mkatashinga mutinies, many of which are covered in this teaching tool. The prelude to the Mkatashinga mutiny began when the ANC were asked by the Movimento Popular de Libertação de Angola (MPLA) to help “defend Malanje province [in central Angola] from a series of attacks by UNITA” who were funded and supported by the apartheid regime.4S. Davis, ‘Cosmopolitans in Close Quarters’, 52 The ANC duly obliged and put Chris Hani, Lennox Zuma, and Timothy Mokoena in charge of operations, which although initially a success, resulted in a high casualty rate and dissatisfaction within MK’s ranks. This prompted MK’s rank-and-file to demand in early 1984 that the ANC announce an “immediate halt to actions in Malanje province and… [to redeploy MK] against South African troops.”

          What followed was a series of conflicts between MK’s rank-and-file and the Congress Alliance leadership, three separate mutinies of increasing intensity and violence, several executions and the torture and detention without trial of MK’s rebels. As Davis summarises, after years of ill-treatment by camp commanders and what from the rank-and-files’ perspective amounted to a stalled and neglected armed struggle, “[s]uspicion and indiscipline rose in tandem and reached crescendo in the Mkatashinga mutiny in late 1983 and early 1984 where nearly ninety percent of cadres in the camps rebelled, executed a few camp leaders, were suppressed by loyalists and Angolan forces, and several faced summary executions.”

          In sharp contrast to ANC-oriented accounts such as that by SADET, which tend to frame the Mkatashinga mutiny as the result of apartheid state infiltrations and ‘unfortunate’ acts of indiscipline within an otherwise seamless transition to liberation, this alternative account suggests that these mutinies also stemmed from a longstanding, internal struggle between different political tendencies within the alliance. In this alternative account, also highlighted was a struggle between the leadership and the rank and file, whose members expressed an ever-present desire to take the struggle home to South Africa.

          The author of this teaching tool positions ‘The Demand of the Time’ and this edition of Dawn ambiguously between these two contested and conflicting narratives. On the one hand, the author suggests reading it as a piece of political rhetoric designed to inspire and to motivate, to improve the moral of MK cadres who were either stationed in one of MK’s camps in exile or underground in South Africa, and to cultivate ‘sterling revolutionary fighters’ who could indeed take the struggle home to South Africa. While on the other, the author reads it as a vanguardist document, a propaganda piece, a discursive strategy designed to discipline the supposedly undisciplined cadre, and to maintain the limits of struggle and revolution in southern Africa. In short, calling on cadres to maintain discipline would have had as much to do with disciplining supposedly undisciplined cadres in Angola, as much to do with the Congress Alliance’s internal political struggle, as it was about preparing for military combat in South Africa. Or, put another way, during this period the Congress Alliance was not simply looking South and preparing MK for combat in South Africa. They were also looking West to Angola.

          Map of southern Africa, marking important places in Chris Hani's life.

          Map of southern Africa, marking important places in Chris Hani’s life. Source: Michelle Berger, They Fought for Freedom: Chris Hani (Cape Town: Maskew, Miller, Longman, 1994).

          Reading between the lines and between these types of narratives is useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, it has the potential to nuance our understanding of political and military struggle, and to work against polarising discourses which position the ANC and its allies as either on the good or bad sides of history. This polarisation has the effect of either affirming the ANC as guarantors of freedom and democracy, as always already destined to become the new sovereign power after apartheid, or as framing the ANC and its allies as sell out, and in terms of betraying the revolutionary promise of South Africa and its people. This third way, the author suggests, enables a coming to terms with the reality that history and historical change is not teleologically or materially predetermined, and leaves history open to different futures. For it is clear that this issue of Dawn and broader histories of struggle within southern Africa are complex and contested, reflecting histories of factionalism, of vanguardism and elitism, but also of comradeship, immense personal sacrifice and genuine commitment to the revolutionary overthrow of the apartheid regime. To merely frame this history in terms of betrayal or triumphalism does an injustice to lives of sacrifice and struggle and the experiences and legacies of the rank-and-file of political movements who largely remain silenced in the public domain.

          This type of reading therefore also has the potential to nuance our understandings of political biographies and the political subject. After ANC President Oliver Tambo’s failed attempt to discipline mutineers in early 1984, Chris Hani was sent to negotiate with the mutineers, eventually persuading them to disarm. Shortly after this, however, and in what perhaps amounted to a betrayal of the mutineers and of Hani’s commitment to negotiations, “[t]he Committee of Ten [the rebels’ leaders] was taken into custody, some [were] imprisoned in Nova Instalação, a notorious Luanda prison, while others were sent to prison camps at Pango and Quibaxe, where, two months later, another mutiny occurred, this time followed by several casualties and seven executions”.5S. Davis, ‘Cosmopolitans in Close Quarters’, 54

          Most ANC-aligned accounts of the Mkatashinga mutiny confirm this version of events, suggesting that Hani was the only leader who could bring rebelling cadres back to order. In a 1992 interview, Hani also spoke against the ANC’s Security Department and its excesses following the mutinies, and empathised with the mutineers’ position, particularly those placed in detention without trial, and of course those who had received summary executions.

          However, there are also isolated accounts, such as that presented in a 1990 edition of Searchlight South Africa, where Hani was described as an uncompromising and authoritarian leader who threatened to have the mutineers executed.6B. Ketelo et al, ‘A miscarriage of democracy’, 44 At other times, accusations of Hani’s tribalism, mobilised in order to fuel his rivalry with another leading figure of MK, Joe Modise, depicted a leader embroiled in an internal, factionalist struggle, and perhaps a leader who himself had a tendency toward cultural chauvinism, intellectual elitism, and political patronage. Perhaps most telling, however, was the account of the Douglas Commission, established by the ANC in the early 1990s to investigate potential human rights violations in exile, which concluded that “Hani was a leading figure in the reign of terror unleashed by the ANC/SACP on its members.”

          Without dismissing the validity of the above claims, it seems that an either/or approach, which wrestles with the ‘Manichean problem’ of good and evil (depicting Hani as either hero or villain) fails to give nuance to the realities of struggle, and the different subject positions that Hani found himself in over time. In other words, to merely reduce Hani to an ideological caricature, fails to grasp the complexities of the anti-apartheid struggle as conducted by the ANC and its allies and fails to do justice to the political subject.

          Instead the author proposes attending to these types of conflicting narratives, not as a means to reconcile the subject, the two Hanis (‘good’ and ‘evil’), nor to sacrifice either Hani to what Frederick Jameson refers to as a dialectical impasse: a “conventional opposition, in which one turns out to be more defective than the other one”, and through “which only one genuine opposite exists … [therefore sharing] the sorry fate of evil … reduced to mere reflection of its other”.7Frederick Jameson, Valences of the Dialectic, 19 Instead, the author argues that placing these two Hanis – these two sides of struggle – into conversation with one another, and to treat them as “equally integral component[s]” of the life and legacy of Hani, and indeed his biographical makeup, might allow alternative readings that work against the mythologising, triumphalist and progressist discourses of the nation-state.8Ibid. 20 In what follows the author of this teaching tool attempts to unravel these contested narratives and subject positions by engaging with the ways in which the idea of Hani as disciplined cadre par excellence was employed to both inspire and motivate MK cadres in exile, but also to discipline the supposedly undisciplined cadre particularly in the aftermath of the Mkatashinga mutiny.

          1. T. Gibbs, Mandela’s Kinsmen, 124
          2. G. Houston, The Road to Democracy in South Africa
          3. There are contested narratives surrounding the Mkatashinga mutinies, many of which are covered in this teaching tool.
          4. S. Davis, ‘Cosmopolitans in Close Quarters’, 52
          5. S. Davis, ‘Cosmopolitans in Close Quarters’, 54
          6. B. Ketelo et al, ‘A miscarriage of democracy’, 44
          7. Frederick Jameson, Valences of the Dialectic, 19
          8. Ibid. 20

          Chris Hani 1992 interview

          Front cover of Work in Progress magazine from June 1992 with a photo of Chris Hani.

          ▴ Courtesy of Digital Innovation South Africa (DISA).

          Article from Work in Progress magazine from June 1992 on Chris Hani.

          ▴ Courtesy of Digital Innovation South Africa (DISA).

          Article from Work in Progress magazine from June 1992 on Chris Hani, second page..

          ▴ Courtesy of Digital Innovation South Africa (DISA).

          Article from Work in Progress magazine from June 1992 on Chris Hani, third page.

          ▴ Courtesy of Digital Innovation South Africa (DISA).


            Searchlight South Africa

            Searchlight South Africa was a journal founded by Baruch Hirson and was circulated between 1988 and 1993. It was concerned with the political and economic situation in southern Africa during apartheid, and interpreted events through a Marxist and Trotskyist lens. At times it was deeply critical of the ANC and the SACP and was one of the first and only journals to expose the atrocities carried out by the ANC/SACP in exile, using eye-witness accounts to inform its readership. It remains an important counter view to ANC-aligned narratives and journals that largely brushed these atrocities under the carpet.


              MK Soldier’s Viewpoint

              This new line was affirmed in Muntu Khoza’s Dawn article, ‘MK Soldiers Viewpoint – Cadre of a new type’. Here Khoza attempted to resolve what he saw as an unproductive binary opposition between political and military struggle. Writing about the need to educate and guide ‘the masses’ in South Africa, and with a sense of revolutionary inevitability, Khoza argued:

              Victory is certain is a common slogan, but what must dominate our minds must not be the certainty of victory only, which is indisputable, but how and when this victory can be achieved. We must look for means and methods for achieving its realisation.
              In this regard, political superiority over the enemy is one of the decisive factors. Politics is an overall force that exerts its influence in all our activities, especially in:

              • cultivating the ideological maturity necessary for guiding our cadres in the intricate structures in the existing political and military relations in our country and the sub-continent;
              • developing the flexible thinking which will enable our cadres to take correct decisions independently; and
              • in inculcating our forces political conviction and devotion to the struggle. […]

              History will not forgive us if we underestimate the enemy’s ability to mislead the masses […]. Consequently, we must draw the fundamental conclusion that our army must have fighters who are ideologically matured to understand our revolution, fighters who are able to make correct assessments and take proper decisions and actions as demanded by the situation at a given time. Are we having such fighters?1Muntu Khoza, ‘MK Soldiers Viewpoint – Cadre of a new type’, Dawn, 1986.

              1. Muntu Khoza, ‘MK Soldiers Viewpoint – Cadre of a new type’, Dawn, 1986.

              Mythologising Hani

              In another edition of Dawn, one published in 1986 to commemorate the 25th anniversary of MK, the military code of MK, established in the aftermath of the Kabwe conference, was outlined and discussed. Here some of the tenets of this military code were expressed:

              Excerpts of the MK military code as published in 1986 in the journal Dawn

              ▴ Excerpt from MK’s military code, Dawn: Souvenir edition, 1986. Courtesy of Digital Innovation South Africa (DISA).

              According to the above military code, the main advantage that MK cadres had over soldiers fighting for apartheid was that they were volunteers, conscious of their responsibility in liberating their people from apartheid. Unlike the “robot-like” soldiers of “bourgeois and reactionary forces”, MK cadres were free-thinking individuals, united in comradeship around a common cause, and ready to instantly obey orders. The post-Kabwe military code stressed that this type of discipline was “not enforced from above”. It was a different type that seemed to rely on a greater degree of discipline; one that was self-imposed and arose out of “political maturity and consciousness”. In other words, the disciplined cadre or revolutionary was not forced to obey orders. Ideally, he or she chose to for the sake of the liberation movement.  As Jack Simons, quoting Engels, stated in his lectures for MK cadres: “This is the difference between the destructive forces of electricity in the lightning of a thunderstorm, and tamed electricity in the telegraph and the arc-light.”1M. Sparg et al, Comrade Jack, 186

              Cover of the book Comrade Jack

              Comrade Jack – The Political Lectures and Diary of Jack Simons, Nova Catengue (STE Publishers, 2001)

              Sandwiched between the first and final paragraphs, however, was a warning: “Every attempt is made to correct bad behaviour and rehabilitate members who violate the army’s code. But punishment is severe in cases of serious crimes, treachery and criminal neglect endangering the safety of others and the security of the army.” Considering the rebellious atmosphere that the alliance faced during the 1980s, it is unsurprising that MK chose to stress that undisciplined cadres would be punished. After all, the realities of any army – the organisation and necessary control of violence – required that on occasion soldiers be punished. In short, the People’s Army, like any other, had to discipline and punish, it had to “correct bad behaviour”. Within the ANC/SACP alliance this needed preferably to happen through political guidance, but as emphasised in MK’s post-Kabwe Military Code, and as evidenced in the ANC Security Department’s treatment of dissenters after the Mkatashinga mutiny, if this did not work, more authoritarian and repressive measures could be applied as necessary. The MK cadre was, therefore, both imagined as a free-thinking individual capable of acting autonomously and expected to instantly obey the orders of their commanders, even if those commanders had betrayed the trust given to them.

              The broader archival record demonstrates that, during the mid-1980s, at least some sections of the ANC alliance were preoccupied with what they saw as a problem of political naivety in MK’s camps. The Department of Political Education (DPE) for example, which included the respected Marxist educator Jack Simons, was set up after Kabwe, and sought to create a school for political education in ‘the West’ (Angola). This was how this school was described as it was being planned:

              The ANC, at its Second National Consultative Conference [Kabwe], decided that a DPE be set up and charged it with the task of ‘looking after the political life of the Movement’. This entails enhancing patriotism and deepening political conviction among the membership: boundless love for and devotion to the well-being of our country and people […].
              [A] picture of the tasks and scope of the DPE stands out clearly as:
              – systematic and consistent political and ideological work among the masses of the people.
              – production of cadres with sterling revolutionary attributes, loyalty, discipline, dedication; devotion… and “staunch in their belief of our ideological line, namely revolutionary nationalism and committed anti-imperialism”. Cadres capable of exercising political leadership and be good organisers.

              Photo of MK camps in Angola.

              MK camps in Angola. (Image source: Comrade Jack book)

              Photo of MK camps in Angola.

              MK camps in Angola. (Image source: Comrade Jack book)

              The problems that the DPE faced were extensive and the political school in ‘the West’ never came into being. However, their intent to produce ‘sterling revolutionaries’ through the benefits of the ‘correct political training’ was clear. The DPE’s proposed curriculum was based largely on Simons’s lectures presented in Lusaka (1969-1979) which Hani attended, as well as in Novo Catengue (1977-1979), one of MK’s most important camps in Angola. This curriculum privileged historical materialism as a guide to action and focused almost exclusively on the works of Marx, Engels, Guevara, Lenin, and Stalin. Importantly, the DPE’s mandate revolved around shaping the Soweto generation into cadres in Hani’s image, and in the image of the Wankie Generation more generally. As alliance member, Reggie Mpongo explained:

              When you look at that group of people afterwards, those people in the June 16 and Moncada detachments, after he [Jack Simons] had left the camp there seemed to have been a failure to develop continuity of leadership. If you look, the movement more or less up to now still relies on that group of people who had worked with Jack. Afterwards there was no attempt to give those people the chance to reproduce themselves either […]. In 1982/83, just shortly before the mutiny, in our view, there was poor political education in the camp, so that some of the cadres coming into the country were failing to grasp the political process as it unfolded […]. Some of these failures which we can now trace were due to political weaknesses and when you raise the issues the response would be: Let’s get the people who were once in the camps at the time of Jack go back and assist.
              — M. Sparg et al, Comrade Jack, 40.
              First page of article on The Wankie Campaigns published in 1986 in the journal Dawn

              Chris Hani ‘The Wankie Campaign’, Dawn, Souvenir Issue, 1986. p.34.

              Second page of article on The Wankie Campaignas published in 1986 in the journal Dawn

              Chris Hani ‘The Wankie Campaign’, Dawn, Souvenir Issue, 1986. p.35.

              According to the account presented in Comrade Jack, the most detailed biographical presentation of Simons’s life and lectures, the main difference between the Wankie and Soweto generations was that the former had benefited from Simons’s lectures, whereas the latter’s political education was far more sporadic, far less comprehensive, and usually didactic and formal. This meant that cadres were able to understand basic Marxist concepts but were unable to contextualise them, or in Hani’s words, they failed, “to objectively apply the theory of Marxism-Leninism to… [southern Africa’s] own situation”.2Ibid. 42 This ‘failure’, coupled with the apparent indiscipline of MK cadres in Angola, contrasted sharply with the image of the modern guerrilla valorised in the exploits of Hani and those of the Luthuli Detachment during the Wankie Campaign. Davis has traced what we might call the mythologisation of Hani and of the Luthuli Detachment through an article by Hani, ‘The Wankie Campaign’, that had been published in an issue of Dawn in 1986. Here Hani attested to the discipline, training, and heroism of the Luthuli detachment, and gave a first-hand account of how they had acted in unity to overcome the enemy.3There were three ‘sections’ or battalions during the Wankie Campaign, which before the campaign were charged with different missions. Hani was the political commissar under John Dube (ZAPU), who was the section commander of the ‘Tsholotsho group’, and overall commander of what would become known as the Luthuli Detachment.  A particularly stirring moment came when Hani described the first confrontation with the Rhodesian forces carried out by his battalion.

              Third page of article on The Wankie Campaignas published in 1986 in the journal Dawn

              Chris Hani ‘The Wankie Campaign’, Dawn Souvenir Issue, 1986. p.36.

              Fourth and final page of article on The Wankie Campaignas published in 1986 in the journal Dawn

              Chris Hani ‘The Wankie Campaign’, Dawn, Souvenir Issue, 1986. p.37.

              As Davis points out, Hani’s version of events and subsequent accounts that took their cue from Hani, proved to contain ‘factual’ inconsistencies, and produced a problematically ‘neat’, romanticised and theatrical narrative. In another impressive reading of official accounts and the archival record that went ‘against the grain’, Davis went on to demonstrate some of the realities of armed combat. This included the unpreparedness of the Luthuli Detachment, mistakes made in the field, indiscipline, and fear, and together these accounts served to question the heroic version of events rendered by Hani himself. Particularly interesting was a passage that focused on ‘Training and Discipline’, in which Davis gave some nuance to dominant notions of “archetypal guerrillas: masters of their environment, deftly moving in and out of view, screening themselves from detection….”4S. Davis, ‘Cosmopolitans in Close Quarters’, 117 This brought to the fore accounts of undisciplined cadres refusing to follow orders and on occasion putting the whole detachment at risk. Davis’s work helps us to start unravelling claims made about the distinction between the supposedly disciplined Wankie generation and the supposedly undisciplined Soweto generation, and therefore shows us that the dividing line between discipline and indiscipline was far more blurred than official accounts tend to suggest.

              ▴ Leaders Uncut: Chris Hani (Afravision, n. d.)


              1. M. Sparg et al, Comrade Jack, 186
              2. Ibid. 42
              3. There were three ‘sections’ or battalions during the Wankie Campaign, which before the campaign were charged with different missions. Hani was the political commissar under John Dube (ZAPU), who was the section commander of the ‘Tsholotsho group’, and overall commander of what would become known as the Luthuli Detachment.
              4. S. Davis, ‘Cosmopolitans in Close Quarters’, 117

              The Mosquito by Mongane Serote

                Excerpt from Dawn, short story by Mongane Serote titled The Mosquito.

                ▴ Mongane Serote, 'The Mosquito', Dawn, 1986. 27-31.

                Excerpt from Dawn, short story by Mongane Serote titled The Mosquito.
                Excerpt from Dawn, short story by Mongane Serote titled The Mosquito.
                Excerpt from Dawn, short story by Mongane Serote titled The Mosquito.
                Excerpt from Dawn, short story by Mongane Serote titled The Mosquito.

                The Mosquito: A Close Reading

                Mongane Serote’s short story, ‘The Mosquito’, published in Dawn alongside Hani’s ‘Demand of the Time’, further contextualised the perceived difference between the disciplined and undisciplined cadre. ‘The Mosquito’ centred on a clandestine mission in Johannesburg and presents two main protagonists. The first, Thula, appeared as a disciplined cadre, focused and willing to carry out his mission at all costs. Whereas the second, Maluleke, was depicted as a drunk, a hanger-on, an undisciplined cadre who put the mission at risk because, using Hani’s terminology, he had not eradicated the frivolous requirements of life. The opening scene was set as follows:

                ‘YOU ARE overdoing it again,’ Thula said.
                ‘Brother’, Maluleke said with a sigh, ‘this is the last one.’
                ‘What is the time?’
                Maluleke slowly and casually, looked at his watch, sighed again before saying: ‘Twelf.’
                ‘Are you sure you are coming with me?’
                ‘What do you think?’
                ‘You have to tell me, I don’t have to think about it.’
                ‘You see,’ Maluleke leaned forward, supporting his arms on the table, looking straight into Thula’s eyes, ‘I need not keep assuring you, or you need not keep asking, we come a long way you and I, besides, you know I love you, so…’
                ‘The thing is, wishes will not help any of us, nor will they do the work.’
                ‘That sounds profound my man,’ Maluleke said, stood up, pulled his trousers up, almost staggered back, pushed the chair back and, without saying a word, walked towards the door. Thula followed him.

                From here, Thula and Maluleke, went to meet “the timer” who provided them with a cart, a broom and street cleaners’ uniforms, and chastised Maluleke for being drunk. They then made their way to a military barracks and, as instructed, left the cart which contained the parcel bomb outside the entrance. The next day, leaflets that called for people to stay at home because of the killing of people in Sekhukhuniland for refusing to leave their homes, were found on the streets. Their mission was complete despite the constant threat of Maluleke’s drunkenness and indiscipline unraveling their plans.

                Illustration that accompanies a short story titled The Mosquito, published in the journal Dawn in 1986

                Image excerpted from ‘The Mosquito’, Dawn, Vol. 10, No. 2 (1986)

                At first reading, this is a simple story about the power of political resistance and the potential effects it had on ‘the masses’, ending with a young woman who we assume is potentially conscientised by the leaflet she finds on the streets of Johannesburg.

                However, and in light of Hani’s ‘Demand of the Time’, Serote’s short story might be better understood as a dialectical struggle between what Simons described as the “electricity in the lightning of a thunderstorm, and tamed electricity in the telegraph and the arc-light.” In short, ‘The Mosquito’ is a moral story about the dangers of indiscipline, that charted the pitfalls of struggle and the need to remain alert, trained, disciplined, and poised for action at all times. The disciplined cadre was therefore not only envisaged as a political subject who could apply the teachings of Simons, as well as other Marxist intellectuals and activists of the 20th century, to the context of political struggle in southern Africa, but was also a moral figure that took its cue, we might say, from Hani’s example.


                  Disciplining the undisciplined cadre

                  Davis’s approach offers a means through which to complicate any emphasis on military discipline and heroism as a means of understanding the Wankie Campaign. It also begins to demonstrate how the image of Hani as disciplined cadre par excellence might have been deployed as a model of emulation within the ranks of the alliance. Through this lens Hani appeared much in the same mould as the revolutionary heroes of 20th century Marxist and anti-colonial struggles, and, as former SACP General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, put it in an article dedicated to Hani’s legacy, he had become the “Che Guevara of Africa”. In other words, documents like the ‘Wankie Campaign’ worked to inculcate Hani into the pantheon of (largely male) revolutionary heroes who were meant to serve as models of emulation for generations of MK cadres that followed in the Wankie generation’s footsteps. Documents about the Wankie Campaign that were circulated by journals like Dawn, as well as other alliance organs, marked the becoming of Hani as revolutionary, and as disciplined cadre.

                  The production of Hani as a heroic figure and as model of emulation during the anti-apartheid struggle would have proved essential for motivating and inspiring MK cadres and the people of South Africa. However, political struggles are not merely defined by the actions of “exceptional human beings” – at least not their actions alone nor their acting alone – nor the vanguardist politics that this position often privileges.1D. Scott, Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2014. 34 They are otherwise intimately tied up with the experiences, desires, and actions of rank-and-file cadres who do not always obediently, and rarely blindly, follow their leaders. As put by Luise White when speaking about military discipline and relationships formed between cadres and commanders:

                  [M]ilitary discipline is not a matter of loyal cadres, obedient to a cause and to the zeal of their commanders. Military discipline is negotiated between cadres and commanders in their everyday practices and frictions, and in how they address extraordinary situations… .2L. White, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo, 36

                  Illustration depicting MK soldiers from the journal Dawn, 1984.

                  Dawn, Vol.8 no. 6, 1984.

                  David Scott’s analysis of the Grenadian revolution and its aftermaths in Omens of Adversity points toward a contradiction between the necessity of maintaining the struggle on the one hand, and the socialist, democratic vision that many within the alliance claimed to adhere to, on the other. When speaking about the global ‘rise of Leninism’, Scott argued that the vanguard party offered a pragmatic solution for liberation movements across the colonised world who “were increasingly seeking to position themselves to take state power….”3D. Scott, Omens of Adversity, 41 Unlike other, more inclusive and open approaches to political organisation, this, according to Scott, allowed for “a more tightly knit, more disciplined, and more doctrinally focused party form.”4Ibid. 40 This, in theory, would not only have streamlined political organisation, but would have also provided a defence against counter-revolutionary forces and against the states they sought to defeat or take over. As others have noted, the adoption of this position also secured much needed support from the Soviet Union and other socialist states.

                  According to Ben Turok, Lenin maintained that the vanguard party was essential in Russia, for organising and guiding the working class, which “lack[ed] the cohesiveness and singleness of purpose to perform its historical role spontaneously.”5B, Turok, Revolutionary Thought in the Twentieth Century, 8 Thus, for Lenin and those that adopted this position, revolutionary struggle was inextricably linked to the Party, and could not succeed without “highly conscious revolutionaries maintaining strong discipline, centralisation of leadership and coherence and unity in action.”6Ibid. 8 But as Scott’s analysis and the archive of the anti-apartheid struggle tend to suggest, the ANC/SACP’s desire to streamline political organisation, as they attempted to do in the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s, and to maintain a cohesive and disciplined anti-apartheid struggle, seemed to have other consequences. Although the alliance’s vanguardism was not solely derived from Leninist conceptions of political struggle, Scott – following Brian Meeks, a Caribbean historian of the Grenadian Revolution – offers a useful means through which to think through the effects of vanguardist organisations:

                  ‘Each Leninist measure which made the party more capable of taking power, also increased its tendency toward hierarchical decision-making and enhanced the autonomy of the leadership both from ordinary party members and the people.’ Thus, for example, the creation of a military wing in 1975 at once improved the party’s readiness for insurrection and ‘increased the tendency toward secrecy.’ […] [W]ith the conversion to Leninism only the leadership was now privy to knowledge about decisions regarding direction, policy, and comrades […]. As Meeks neatly summarizes it, ‘This both eroded the popular connection and increased the sense of sectarianism in those few privileged to possess the knowledge of ‘science’. It also had the potential to generate distrust and betrayal […].
                  — David Scott, Omens of Adversity, 41-42.
                  Illustration depicting Botha being finished off from the journal Dawn, 1986.

                  Dawn, Vol.10 no. 3, 1986. 27.

                  It is clearly one thing to manage ideological and political differences within party structures, and another to manage dissent within MK’s rank-and-file, particularly when those dissenting cadres of the ‘Soweto generation’ who were generally more familiar with Black Consciousness ideas, had not ‘benefitted’ from the ‘correct political training’ and were greeted in exile by party lines and security police. In short, when cadres en masse start to question the logic of struggle, and if that questioning becomes an insurrection against the party, other increasingly violent measures have been deployed and justified.

                  When asked about the mutinies in 1992, Hani spoke passionately against the ANC Security Department:

                  It is an open secret that the most vocal critic of detention without trial was Chris Hani. I was a member of the politbureau – people who challenged the detention of Thami Zulu and others [who] were leading members of the SACP…. Up to the time people were released from Quatro [MK’s notorious detention camp] I led a campaign at every meeting of the NEC of the ANC, saying that we cannot call upon the regime to release our political prisoners and continue detaining people for long periods of time without trial. I accept that there was a time when our security actually dealt with detainees in a way I never accepted. I tried to understand how they behaved like that. … That was a period – I’m not condoning it – when our people were targets of assassination in Lesotho, Swaziland and Botswana, when the security branch in our country was sending dozens of agents to poison people, to destabilize our camps, to create a situation where our struggle would be neutralised. There was a need for us – and I will never dispute this – to set up an efficient security system. But it is important in any movement, in any government that security forces be given clear guidelines and they should be accountable to the leadership. They should never use methods that are not acceptable in any democratic country. Communist leaders tried to change a situation where harmful and negative methods were used against those who were suspected of working for the South African regime.7‘Hani Opens Up, Work in Progress, June 1992, no. 82, 18.

                  Hani’s words speak to a number of issues already highlighted within this chapter, including the contradiction between the necessity of maintaining the struggle on the one hand, and the socialist, democratic vision that the ANC/SACP alliance claimed to adhere to, on the other. But how might we come to terms with the ways in which the desire to maintain a cohesive anti-apartheid struggle and to guard against Askari infiltrations became the nodes through which torture, imprisonment, and execution were acted out and justified, or, when the necessities of struggle come into conflict with cadres’ vision of a different world free from the system of oppression?

                  1. D. Scott, Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice, Durham and London: Duke University Press, 2014. 34
                  2. L. White, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo, 36
                  3. D. Scott, Omens of Adversity, 41
                  4. Ibid. 40
                  5. B, Turok, Revolutionary Thought in the Twentieth Century, 8
                  6. Ibid. 8
                  7. ‘Hani Opens Up, Work in Progress, June 1992, no. 82, 18.

                  Learn with Dawn and politiXword

                  Included in this edition of Dawn was a manual for sabotage campaigns in South Africa which invited ‘ordinary’ citizens to become freedom fighters for their country.

                  At the end of Dawn, a crossword, or ‘politiXword’, was also included. This politiXword was designed as a means through which to test readers’ knowledge. All its answers can be found within the journal, and probably provided light relief for those stationed in MK camps in exile.

                    Excerpt from Dawn, article titled Learn with Dawn

                    ▴ Dawn, Vol.10, No.2. 1986. 7.

                    Excerpt from Dawn, article titled Learn with Dawn

                    ▴ Dawn, Vol.10, No.2. 1986. 8.

                    Crossword from the journal Dawn, 1986.

                    ▴ Dawn, Vol.10, No.2. 1986. 32.


                    Echoes and Returns

                    [We] are living in a time of extreme paranoia and factionalism. I attended a prayer service on the 5th of April… to pray for our country. I was later informed… that I belonged to a faction that is against the Presidency… Honorary President [Jacob Zuma] and comrades, I do not belong to a faction. I'm a member of the ANC and there's only one ANC. I refuse to play into the hands of those who ask, ‘What would Chris say today?’ I cannot answer that question. What I do know is Chris was a loyal, disciplined and responsible cadre.
                    — Limpho Hani, Chris Hani Memorial, 2017.
                    We won elections in 1994, and our goal was to use State power to transform our country and to transform the conditions of our people for the better. But if we speak the truth, what has happened? The opposite has happened. We have been captured by State power, behind it big corporate interests, and led to the emergence of this phenomenon that we call State capture. We have to undo that […]. I can see YCM [Young Communist Movement] is intensifying political education. It’s very good; do so. Because what we need in the name of Chris Hani is a new cadre in our movement, who must treat deployment as service to the people, and not an opportunity for personal accumulation. We need a new cadre, and most of those new cadres will come from the youth. That’s why we need a strong, radical, militant, progressive youth alliance, but also older cadres like ourselves […]. Some of the older cadres also must become new cadres, as well. All of us. In honour and in memory of Comrade Chris Hani and Mama Winnie.
                    — Blade Nzimande, Chris Hani Memorial, 2018.

                    Although this teaching tool has focused on a specific issue of Dawn and a specific historical timeframe, it is also concerned with the ways in which these historical understandings have been inflected and mediated after apartheid. The above two speeches delivered at the annual Hani Memorial which takes place each year on the anniversary of Hani’s assassination, are two examples of how Hani’s legacy, as well as that of the ANC/SACP’s struggle against apartheid, are mobilised in order to legitimise or denounce different political factions operating today. In the first, given as part of her Hani Memorial speech delivered in 2017, Chris Hani’s widow, Limpho Hani, denied any accusation of factionalism under the Zuma administration by referring to her late husband as “a loyal, disciplined and responsible cadre”. In the second, delivered the following year, in 2018, Blade Nzimande, then newly appointed Minister of Transport under President Ramaphosa and General Secretary of the South African Communist Party (SACP), invoked Hani’s revolutionary legacy, alongside that of Winnie Mandela, to call upon the SACP to become cadres of a new type and to intensify the struggle against state capture and corruption.

                    Like Hani’s ‘Demand of the Time’, each speech was delivered at a time when the leadership of the ANC had come under increasing pressure from its political rivals, from South African society more broadly and from within the Tripartite Alliance itself. It would therefore be easy to draw a line between the invocation of Hani as loyal, disciplined cadre, and what Stephen Davis has referred to as the production of “didactic lesson books for dutiful students of the struggle that the state hopes to discipline.”1S. Davis, 11.

                    The above two speeches demonstrate that Hani continues to be employed as a means through which to discipline the alliance, and the nation. In this sense, Hani himself has been disciplined in death, serving as a martyr of the ANC, and as a sign through which different politicians legitimise their own political projects or the policies of the ANC government. The author of this teaching tool has argued in his PhD dissertation, that it has also been deployed as a means through which the SACP and successive ANC governments have symbolically deferred further systematic change until a later date (until the arrival of a new man), and as a result affirmed the stalled time of the postapartheid.

                    There are, however, other ways in which Hani’s legacy is understood today. In a 2014 Africa is a Country article, Sean Jacobs remembered a different figure: an independent and committed soldier against apartheid, and someone who did not shy away from criticising the movement and its leaders. To demonstrate this claim, Jacobs referred to the 1969 Hani Memorandum, and the reality that during the latter years of apartheid, Hani was an outspoken critic of negotiations and the suspension of armed struggle and was clearly mindful of the routes and destinations that a negotiated settlement might lead to. For Jacobs, despite being lionised and “invoked in speeches and songs, the principles [Hani] stood for no longer animate the political project of the liberation movement he laid down his life for”. And it seems that these principles for Jacobs are anathema to the idea of Hani as “loyal, disciplined and responsible cadre”, and therefore, we might argue, work to challenge the order of things.

                    This legacy was also voiced at the 2018 Hani Memorial by Lindiwe Hani:

                    She [Winnie Mandela] has nothing to be sorry about. Last week, to participate and witness the beauty of social media, with the hashtag ‘I am Winnie Mandela’ was monumental. South African women who were donning black with a doek was such an inspirational movement that reminded me that together we are strong, that together as women, standing together, anything is possible. That uMama did not die but she did multiply. I am Winnie Mandela, my daughter is Winnie Mandela, and all the little girls who dream big are Winnie Mandela. It might be a system that is as old as time and ingrained in our society, but as sure as I am Lindiwe Hani, the daughter of Thembisile Chris Hani, patriarchy we are coming for you.
                    — Lindiwe Hani

                    After marking patriarchy within the hallowed halls of the Hani Memorial ceremony, Lindiwe Hani moved on to target racism and privilege in South Africa, where after she returned to her father, drawing a direct link between him, Winnie, and the continued struggle for justice after apartheid. By highlighting the deeply personal and traumatic experience of losing a father, and by subverting the often taken-for-granted political and patriarchal hierarchy which presided over the Hani Memorial, Lindiwe Hani’s words mobilised her father’s memory alongside a different notion of struggle:

                    It has been twenty-five years since Daddy was brutally assassinated in his driveway and to some, including myself, it feels like yesterday. Our family still miss him every day, and we will forever reflect on how our lives would have been different if he was still alive. A sentiment I know shared by many. Honestly I will never know, but I do feel that I tend to miss the leadership I grew up surrounded by. The pure selflessness of our Hanis, our Tambos, that they displayed. The concept of the course being larger than the individual. We were fed this simultaneously as we were told, or if you like indoctrinated, that our blood is black, green and yellow. Twenty-five years later we seem to have forgotten those basics. We need, and myself included, to stop looking for saviors, and realise that we all carry the gene of superb leadership. We are surrounded by greatness and inspiration. From the woman that takes menial jobs to feed her family, to the young children still walking many kilometres to get an education, we are the ones to lead our beautiful country to the kind of future we want to see. 
                    — Lindiwe Hani

                    It was again in this romantic spirit that a more assertive Lindiwe Hani spoke at the 2019 Memorial. In a speech that criticised the leadership of the old Alliance, and distanced itself from party politics more generally, Lindiwe Hani invoked Hani’s legacy in order to judge and discipline those who were present, including Magashule, who had earlier used the platform for his own self-aggrandisement. She ended what was a moving speech by reciting one of Hani’s best-known quotes:

                    Socialism is not about big concepts and heavy theory. Socialism is about decent shelter for those who are homeless, it is about water for those who have no safe drinking water. It is about healthcare. It is about a life of dignity for the old. It is about overcoming the huge divide between urban and rural areas. It is about a decent education for all our people. Socialism is about rolling back the tyranny of the market. As long as the economy is dominated by an unelected, privileged few the case for socialism will exist.
                    — Chris Hani

                    By invoking her father’s legacy in this way, Lindiwe Hani worked to challenge the type of memorialisation and temporality inculcated at the Hani Memorial complex. For her, it seemed, the time was now. South Africans, she suggested, did not need to look for saviours, the arrival of the new man, or the return of Chris Hani. It was in the ‘ordinary’ people instead, where we might find ‘inspiration and greatness’. It also seems clear that through this romantic lens, Lindiwe Hani employed her father’s legacy in an attempt to recuperate a sense of socialist struggle from below and to undermine the heroic narrative of leaders, of vanguards, and of the Party, or at the very least to remind the Alliance of its supposed commitment to the ‘ordinary’ people of South Africa.

                    This type of invocation may of course be problematic. Amongst other things, it has the effect of romanticising the ‘workers and the poor’, and – as with state-led memorialisation at the Hani Memorial – flattening out what was a complicated and contested history of struggle. Having said this, Lindiwe Hani’s words have not only been employed in this way. Elsewhere they have intersected with the personal trauma of losing a father, whilst highlighting the tension between family and state and the question of who lays claim to the dead body of apartheid. In her 2017 memoir, when recounting her memories of the first memorial occasion held after Hani’s death (18 April 1993), in remembering the procession of mourners which had lined up to say farewell to their comrade, Lindiwe Hani reluctantly compared her father to Lenin.2L. Hani and M. Ferguson, Being Chris Hani’s Daughter, 61. On other occasions he has been described as the “Che Guevara of Africa”. These comparisons have marked Hani as a giant of the struggle, and as a symbol of revolutions won, revolutions lost, and for some, of hopes for revolutions to come. For Lindiwe Hani, Chris “was just Daddy”, not only a father of the nation, but a father who had been taken prematurely by the struggle.

                    1. S. Davis, 11.
                    2. L. Hani and M. Ferguson, Being Chris Hani’s Daughter, 61.

                    Hani memorial speeches



                      Stephen Davis, ‘Cosmopolitans in Close Quarters: Everyday life in the ranks of Umkhonto we Sizwe (1961-present).’ (PhD Thesis: University of Florida, 2010).

                      Timothy Gibbs, Mandela’s Kinsmen: Nationalist Elites and Apartheid’s First Bantustan (Johannesburg: Jacana Media Ltd. 2014).

                      Lindiwe Hani and Melinda Ferguson, Being Chris Hani’s Daughter (Johannesburg: MF Books, 2017).

                      Gregory Houston, ‘The ANC’s Armed Struggle in the 1980s’, in, The Road to Democracy in South Africa: Vol. 4 (1980-1990) (Pretoria, UNISA Press, 2010).

                      Gregory Houston, and James Ngculu, Chris Hani: Voices of Liberation (Cape Town, HSRC Press, 2014).

                      Frederic Jameson, Valences of the Dialectic (London and New York: Verso, 2010).

                      Bandile Ketelo, Amos Maxongo, Zamxolo Tshona, Ronnie Massango and Luvo Mbengo ‘A Miscarriage of democracy: The ANC Security Department in the 1984 mutiny in UmKhonto we Sizwe’, Searchlight South Africa, Vol. 2, No. 1 (No. 5), (July 1990).

                      H. Marais, ‘Hani opens up’, Work in Progress, Vol. 82 (May-June 1992).

                      David Scott, Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice (Durham: Duke University Press, 2014).

                      Janet Smith and Beauregard Tromp, Hani: A life too short (Jeppestown: Jonathon Ball, 2015).

                      Marian Sparg, Jenny Schreiner and Gwen Ansell (eds), Comrade Jack: The Political Lectures and Diary of Jack Simons, Novo Catengue (Johannesburg: STE Publishers, 2001).

                      Ben Turok, Revolutionary Thought in the Twentieth Century (London: Zed Press, 1980).

                      Luise White, The Assassination of Herbert Chitepo: Texts and Politics in Zimbabwe (Indiana University Press, 2003).

                      Archival sources 

                      ‘The Report of the Douglas Commission, 1993’, (WHP, University of the Witwatersrand: A3318f).