“Most young girls grow up with their father being their personal hero, I was no exception. The thing that I wasn’t aware of is that I wasn’t alone, my Father, Chris Hani, was a hero to millions of South Africans. When I was 12 years old, on 10th April 1993, Chris Hani was murdered. His assassination threatened to tip South Africa over the precipice into a bloodbath. Nelson Mandela’s statesmanlike TV intervention, appealing for calm, saved SA. The perpetrators of the murder were behind bars within a week. And on that day my entire world fell apart. And as a family, we were left bereft.
We grew up hearing him tell us of how things would change once we had freedom and lived as a family in South Africa. We spent years visiting him in exile (from Lusaka to Russia) and having him play the role of a long-distance father, though his love and attention shone so strongly, despite his physical distance from us.
In 1991, our collective dream came true and we were reunited as a family. What we didn’t know was that joy would be cut unceremoniously, and devastatingly, short.
Upon his death I found myself navigating this new life of being Chris Hani’s daughter, fallen soldier and comrade, and beloved by millions. I struggled to make sense of Daddy’s death and used the only tools in my arsenal at that stage to cope, and they were anger and bitterness. Over the next few years, I came to rely heavily on alcohol and drugs to just be ok with my very existence. And In that very existence, I would have moments of clarity and one thing I knew was that I wanted to tell my Father’s story – but I was not ready.
In 2014 I was blessed in being able to find a new life in sobriety and through many years of therapy, I have come to accept and come to terms with Daddy’s death.
A year after coming out of rehab I wrote the book ‘Being Chris Hani’s Daughter’ a memoir about my life with the man and my life in his shadow. I realised that I need to continue my journey of documenting his life and making him even more accessible to his people. My story is one that millions around the world can relate to, it is one of trauma, anger, hope, and triumph.” But Lindiwe Hani’s courageous determination to meet her father’s killers chronicled evocatively and at times amusingly, is alluring. She also provides a fascinating peep into Chris’s warm and relaxed parenting.”
Lindiwe Hani lives in Johannesburg with her teenage daughter Khaya. She believes that one’s journey is ongoing and that there is always a need to revisit where you are on that journey to redefine yourself. In that spirit, she is a Communications Manager and is in the process of working on a documentary about her Father.
Meeting, or now more likely, seeing this tiny, witty personality makes it clear that the book’s comical remarks are not the result of clever wordsmithing. She and publisher-author Melinda Ferguson took turns in writing the book. Now you have the chance to hear this, at times, a heart-wrenching story, from the last-born daughter of one of South Africa’s real heroes – and a legend whose life was cut short at the tender age of just 36.
Lindiwe Hani describes her years of addiction honestly and forthrightly without sparing herself. They were fuelled by a lack of confidence, the loss of her exuberant, extrovert personality, a life-altering decision about her first child, the loss of her first real love, and her sister.
Today, Hani is at peace with her family, bound to them by their love for Khaya. She has spent a lifetime being introduced as “Chris Hani’s daughter and often my own name is not mentioned. Now finally, I am finding my own ways to emerge from his magnificent but eternal shadow.”