Guy Berger
Guy Berger

Interviewing Mr MK in 1991

Lest anyone forget how South Africa nearly exploded when Chris Hani was assassinated, here are some front pages of the paper I edited at the time:

South newspaper

South newspaper

Missing, however, is the wonderful full cover from South of Hani standing outside Parliament in 1992, with the headline “Next year we rule from within this place”. Democracy was, of course, delayed a bit longer and Hani never lived to see the peace that the elections brought this country.

In earlier days, South ran the following cover, with hope written all over the man’s face:

South newspaper

I dug up some other artefacts in regard to covering the late SACP leader — even my notebook from an extensive interview with him.



The result was published in New Era magazine, which I edited in 1991, in Q&A format.

New Era

It starts with the question: “The ANC has developed a very bad public relations profile. Journalists complain that spokespeople don’t turn up for interviews …”

Hani’s reply: “It would be wrong for the ANC to dismiss media criticism of our inefficiency and incompetence.” He continued: “We have had to rebuild and revamp to cope with the many demands on us.”

Later in the interview, he says:

“Though criticism is not a pleasing or palatable thing, for a movement to remain basically democratic, it needs to be criticised — and especially by those sharing its goals. We might uphold the best goals in the world, yet use wrong methods in pursuing them. We sometimes tend to violate democratic norms. It is the duty of the alternative media to point out all these shortcomings.”

You can download PDFs of the interview by clicking on the link below each: