Struggle hero and former South African Communist Party (SACP) general secretary Chris Hani's grave site in Boksburg, in Johannesburg was officially declared a heritage site on Monday.
This week marks 24 years since Hani was assassinated in the driveway of his home in Boksburg by Janusz Waluś.
Attending the slain hero’s memorial at the Thomas Titus Nkobi Memorial Park was politically embattled President Jacob Zuma who addressed the crowd.
Zuma, who looked confident despite last week's nationwide protests calling for him to step down, stated that Hani’s killers had wanted to derail South Africans from achieving freedom.
He said Hani had demonstrated that he had lived for his people and his family for his entire life.
“He taught many that personal sacrifice was important. He spoke straight and never lost respect and dignity. Whenever he disagreed no one felt offended. If anything we would be persuaded to see the truth”, stated Zuma.
He added that Hani's killers had also sought to start divisions, perpetuated by minority interests, but enthused that they didn’t succeed because of the leadership of former President Nelson Mandela.
Zuma called on South Africans to unite behind the building of a sustainable economy despite the challenges the country faced locally and globally.
He noted that Hani had believed in a nonracial society and added that it was unfortunate that South Africans were still faced with racism.
“We must fight racism. We have sadly not succeeded in building a nonracist society,” he pointed out.
Meanwhile Hani's widow, Limpho, said her family was humbled and honoured by the memorial.
“This would not have happened if it was not for Ekurhuleni mayor Mzwandile Masina. The municipality is working tirelessly to make sure that the memory of Chris is not forgotten,” she said.
She affirmed that she was a widow of the African National Congress (ANC) and the SACP and added that South Africans were living in an era of paranoia and factionalism.
“I do not belong to a faction. I am a member of the ANC. I refuse to play into the hands of those who say what Chris would have said. Chris was a loyal, discipline and responsible ANC cadre,” she declared.
Arts and Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said Hani's memorial was fitting.
“He personified the alliance. He grew to lead both in the ANC and SACP. He was a tried and tested leader,” he said.