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Janusz Walus: Why far-right Polish football fans idolise a murderer in South Africa

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By way of Dickens Olewe
BBC Information

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symbol captionBanners supporting Walus are a not unusual function in Polish soccer stadiums
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Massive banners bearing the portrait of Janusz Walus can ceaselessly be noticed draped round soccer stadiums in Poland calling for the liberty of a person serving a lifestyles sentence in South Africa for the 1993 homicide of distinguished anti-apartheid chief Chris Hani.

Many feared that Hani’s killing may just impress a racial battle, coming at a a very powerful level in talks for the white minority at hand over energy, which sooner or later took place when Nelson Mandela changed into president the next yr after the rustic’s first all-race elections.

It’s unclear how Walus changed into a logo for younger Polish nationalists and fascists however about 10 years in the past, he began receiving letters from supporters in Poland, journalist Cezary Lazarewicz, who interviewed Walus for his e book, instructed the BBC.

“They wrote to him that they admired him as a result of he attempted to forestall communism in South Africa, that he’s the nice hope of the white race,” he stated.

In photos and movies posted on-line one of the vital soccer enthusiasts within the stands are wearing scarves with the hashtag #StayStrongBrother published on them.

It is impressed through a music devoted to him which contains the lyrics: “A couple of males may just ever take the step you probably did, to go into the trail of glory and victory”.

“The enthusiasts aren’t calling on Walus’ free up on humanitarian grounds, however they’re glorifying what he did and the ideology,” Dr Rafal Pankowski, from By no means Once more affiliation, an anti-racist team, instructed the BBC.

The music, which is sung in English, is “a just right instance of the internationalisation of modern white nationalism,” he provides.

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Chris Hanisymbol copyrightAFP
  • Chief of the South African Communist Birthday celebration
  • Leader of body of workers of uMkhonto we Sizwe, the armed wing of the African Nationwide Congress (ANC), allied to the SACP
  • Introduced assaults towards apartheid executive
  • Observed as a possible successor to Nelson Mandela
  • Assassinated on 10 April 1993
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Walus, an immigrant from Poland who had bought South African citizenship, and his co-defendant Clive Derby-Lewis, have been sentenced to loss of life in a while after Hani’s killing, however the sentence used to be commuted to lifestyles sentence after South Africa abolished the loss of life penalty.

They each appealed for amnesty right through the Reality and Reconciliation Fee (TRC) in 1997, with Walus announcing that he used to be pushed through political, anti-communist motives to kill Hani, who used to be then the secretary-general of the South African Communist Birthday celebration (SACP), and likewise a number one determine within the armed wing of the African Nationwide Congress. The 2 events have been shut allies within the combat towards apartheid.

Their enchantment used to be rejected.

Derby-Lewis, who supplied the gun used to kill Hani, died in 2016, a yr after he used to be granted parole for well being causes.

Walus, who’s serving his lifestyles sentence at a most safety jail in Pretoria, continues to search out popularity on-line.

Much more shockingly, the variability of products supporting him and celebrating him as a “political prisoner” has been offered on a South African-owned on-line marketplace web site.

Removing no longer sufficient

The BBC showed that scarves, a T-shirt, and a sticky label bearing the identify and symbol of Janusz Walus were advertise on OLX’s Polish web site. These things have since been got rid of.

Scarvessymbol copyrightOLX
symbol captionScarves from a number of soccer golf equipment have been amongst the ones got rid of from OLX

OLX is owned through technology-investment corporate Prosus, a subsidiarity of South African-based international tech large Naspers.

The By no means Once more affiliation reported the sale of the Walus goods and different “racist” goods to OLX.

“Selling fascism or racial hatred is against the law through the Polish regulation however the implementation of the regulation is notoriously vulnerable,” Dr Pankowski stated.

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symbol captionThis T-shirt used to be advertise at the OLX platform

OLX Poland’s laws additionally restrict promoting goods containing “content material inciting hatred in line with nationwide, ethnic, racial, spiritual variations or because of non-denominational standing”.

In a remark to the BBC, Naspers stated that “right-wing components in Poland have violated the phrases of use of the OLX Poland platform. Even supposing they just controlled to do with the intention to an excessively restricted extent, any content material that incites violence, racism, or discrimination is abhorrent and opposite to the values and ideology of our organisation”.

“Our methods use know-how mechanically to spot and take away listings that violate OLX’s insurance policies,” spokesperson Shamiela Letsoalo stated.

The Walus goods weren’t indexed beneath his identify and so the machine overlooked them, the remark stated, including that they have been “impulsively got rid of” after the group used to be notified.

However this is not sufficient for SACP spokesman Alex Mashilo, who instructed the BBC that Naspers had “to do so, greater than what they stated out of comfort”.

He added that the birthday party would “believe this topic additional and come to a decision the following steps to undertake”.


One reason for the upward push in visibility of Walus’ purpose is a sequence of courtroom and executive choices which resulted in the quashing of a 2016 choice to free up him on parole.

Hani’s circle of relatives and the SACP had adverse the transfer even after South African government stripped Walus of his citizenship in 2017, clearing the way in which for him to be deported to Poland if he used to be free of jail.

In March, the justice ministry in spite of everything dominated out his free up.

Walus is “unrepentant apart from for his pretences to be noticed to be complying with parole eligibility,” Mr Mashilo stated.

“The uncorrectable murderer who nearly plunged South Africa right into a civil battle with far-reaching implications will have to no longer be launched on parole. As issues stand, there was no complete disclosure of the reality and the entire cases surrounding Hani’s assassination,” Mr Mashilo added.

He stated questions remained concerning the gun used to kill Hani.

“The homicide weapon that the person pulled the cause of used to be taken from army armoury. Who took it, whose palms did it undergo… to [get to] its vacation spot, Walus, and his assassination of Hani?” he requested.

Members of the African National Congress (ANC) demonstrate outside the Constitutional Court in protest over the parole granted to Janusz Walus, the killer of the anti-apartheid hero Chris Hanisymbol copyrightAFP
symbol captionSupporters of the ruling ANC birthday party have additionally been adverse to liberating Walus on parole

The remaining time maximum South Africans noticed Walus used to be right through the TRC periods, answering questions on Hani’s homicide.

Sooner or later right through the hearings he locked his head in a reasonably titled place and shot a clean however searing stare around the room – it is a seem like this which may also be noticed on show in scarves and banners in Polish soccer stadiums.

Final yr an audio message from Walus used to be uploaded to YouTube and Fb, during which he thanked his enthusiasts for elevating criminal charges and purchasing sports activities apparatus.

Janusz Walus:symbol copyrightAFP
symbol captionWalus instructed Polish journalist Lazarewicz he believes black other folks and white other folks must reside sepatately

When Lazarewicz visited Walus two years in the past for an interview, he discovered a person who, 25 years after his incarceration, used to be unrelenting in his convictions.

“4 years in the past Walus met in jail with Hani’s daughter – Lindiwe. He instructed her [that] when he misplaced his father [in 1997] then he understood that Chris Hani used to be no longer just a communist, however he used to be additionally a father and husband,” Lazarewicz stated.

“Walus instructed me that he used to be very sorry for killing Lindiwe’s father. However he by no means regretted [killing a] communist chief. He instructed me, in 1993, there used to be a battle in South Africa and he felt like a soldier… he nonetheless believes within the machine of racial segregation and that whites and blacks must reside aside,” he added.

This might provide an explanation for why Walus has transform an icon of white supremacist teams.

So at the same time as his supporters name for his freedom in soccer video games in Poland, it is their shared allegiance to a racist ideology that can block any likelihood of parole and confine him to prion for the remainder of his lifestyles.

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