This week’s 26th anniversary of the assassination of Chris Hani brings to mind the critical role played by Nelson Mandela at the time to defuse a situation that could have easily descended into a bloodbath, derailing a peaceful transition from apartheid.

Hani, who had attained iconic status among the youth as a fearless freedom fighter, was gunned down in the driveway of his Boksburg home at Easter in 1993 by Janusz Walus, a Polish immigrant. Walus had plotted the murder with Clive Derby-Lewis, a senior member of the Conservative Party. Hani's murder threatened to plunge the country into a race war, which was the plotters' intention. Bands of youths went on the rampage around the country threatening revenge.

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