Large banners bearing the portrait of Janusz Walus can often be seen draped close to soccer stadiums in Poland calling for the flexibility of a person serving a daily life sentence in South Africa for the 1993 murder of outstanding anti-apartheid chief Chris Hani.
Several feared that Hani’s killing could provoke a racial war, coming at a vital issue in talks for the white minority to hand in excess of electricity, which finally happened when Nelson Mandela became president the next year soon after the country’s 1st all-race elections.
It is unclear how Walus grew to become a symbol for youthful Polish nationalists and fascists but about 10 years ago, he started receiving letters from supporters in Poland, journalist Cezary Lazarewicz, who interviewed Walus for his e-book, explained to the BBC.
“They wrote to him that they admired him for the reason that he tried using to quit communism in South Africa, that he is the terrific hope of the white race,” he explained.
In pics and videos posted on the web some of the soccer followers in the stands are carrying scarves with the hashtag #StayStrongBrother printed on them.
It’s influenced by a song dedicated to him which includes the lyrics: “A several adult men could at any time acquire the step you did, to enter the route of glory and victory”.
“The followers are not calling on Walus’ launch on humanitarian grounds, but they are glorifying what he did and the ideology,” Dr Rafal Pankowski, from Never Once more affiliation, an anti-racist group, explained to the BBC.
The music, which is sung in English, is “a excellent illustration of the internationalisation of modern white nationalism,” he provides.
Who was Chris Hani?
Chief of the South African Communist Bash
Chief of team of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), allied to the SACP
Introduced assaults from apartheid government
Viewed as a prospective successor to Nelson Mandela
Assassinated on 10 April 1993
Walus, an immigrant from Poland who had obtained South African citizenship, and his co-defendant Clive Derby-Lewis, have been sentenced to dying soon right after Hani’s killing, but the sentence was commuted to lifestyle sentence following South Africa abolished the death penalty.
They each appealed for amnesty all through the Truth of the matter and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in 1997, with Walus saying that he was pushed by political, anti-communist motives to kill Hani, who was then the secretary-basic of the South African Communist Social gathering (SACP), and also a main figure in the armed wing of the African Countrywide Congress. The two get-togethers were close allies in the fight towards apartheid.
Their appeal was turned down.
Derby-Lewis, who provided the gun made use of to destroy Hani, died in 2016, a yr after he was granted parole for well being explanations.
Walus, who is serving his existence sentence at a maximum stability jail in Pretoria, carries on to locate fame online.
Even more shockingly, the assortment of products supporting him and celebrating him as a “political prisoner” has been sold on a South African-owned on-line industry web page.
Elimination not plenty of
The BBC confirmed that scarves, a T-shirt, and a sticker bearing the name and impression of Janusz Walus had been set up for sale on OLX’s Polish web page. These things have considering the fact that been eradicated.
OLX is owned by engineering-expenditure business Prosus, a subsidiarity of South African-based global tech huge Naspers.
The Never All over again association reported the sale of the Walus items and other “racist” products to OLX.
“Promoting fascism or racial hatred is prohibited by the Polish regulation but the implementation of the legislation is notoriously weak,” Dr Pankowski explained.
OLX Poland’s laws also prohibit marketing goods containing “information inciting hatred based mostly on nationwide, ethnic, racial, spiritual variations or because of to non-denominational standing”.
In a statement to the BBC, Naspers mentioned that “proper-wing factors in Poland have violated the conditions of use of the OLX Poland platform. Even though they only managed to do so to a extremely minimal extent, any written content that incites violence, racism, or discrimination is abhorrent and contrary to the values and beliefs of our organisation”.
“Our systems use engineering instantly to detect and clear away listings that violate OLX’s procedures,” spokesperson Shamiela Letsoalo reported.
The Walus things have been not outlined below his title and so the technique missed them, the assertion reported, including that they were being “quickly taken out” just after the workforce was notified.
But this isn’t really enough for SACP spokesman Alex Mashilo, who told the BBC that Naspers had “to acquire action, much more than what they said out of ease”.
He extra that the occasion would “take into account this make any difference even further and choose the up coming actions to adopt”.
One rationalization for the increase in visibility of Walus’ induce is a collection of court and federal government choices which led to the quashing of a 2016 conclusion to launch him on parole.
Hani’s family and the SACP experienced opposed the go even right after South African authorities stripped Walus of his citizenship in 2017, clearing the way for him to be deported to Poland if he was freed from prison.
In March, the justice ministry finally dominated out his launch.
Walus is “unrepentant except for his pretences to be observed to be complying with parole eligibility,” Mr Mashilo stated.
“The uncorrectable assassin who pretty much plunged South Africa into a civil war with far-reaching implications need to not be unveiled on parole. As issues stand, there has been no total disclosure of the truth and all the conditions surrounding Hani’s assassination,” Mr Mashilo included.
He claimed queries remained about the gun applied to destroy Hani.
“The murder weapon that the male pulled the set off of was taken from military services armoury. Who took it, whose arms did it go via… to [get to] its vacation spot, Walus, and his assassination of Hani?” he requested.
The very last time most South Africans saw Walus was all through the TRC sessions, answering issues about Hani’s murder.
At some place during the hearings he locked his head in a somewhat titled placement and shot a blank but searing stare throughout the area – it’s a search like this which can be witnessed on screen in scarves and banners in Polish football stadiums.
Final calendar year an audio information from Walus was uploaded to YouTube and Fb, in which he thanked his enthusiasts for elevating authorized fees and obtaining sports equipment.
When Lazarewicz visited Walus two a long time ago for an job interview, he discovered a guy who, 25 decades following his incarceration, was unrelenting in his convictions.
“Four many years ago Walus fulfilled in prison with Hani’s daughter – Lindiwe. He explained to her [that] when he missing his father [in 1997] then he recognized that Chris Hani was not only a communist, but he was also a father and partner,” Lazarewicz said.
“Walus instructed me that he was very sorry for killing Lindiwe’s father. But he by no means regretted [killing a] communist chief. He explained to me, in 1993, there was a war in South Africa and he felt like a soldier… he nevertheless believes in the procedure of racial segregation and that whites and blacks really should are living apart,” he extra.
This could describe why Walus has grow to be an icon of white supremacist groups.
So even as his supporters phone for his liberty in soccer online games in Poland, it can be their shared allegiance to a racist ideology that will block any prospect of parole and confine him to prion for the relaxation of his everyday living.