Farewell, President Kenneth Kaunda.

Kenneth Kaunda

By David Himbara

Farewell, President Kenneth Kaunda. Dignity and Honour. May your Dear Soul Rest in Eternal Peace, Knowing the Immense Impact you Made on the People of Zambia, South Africa, and the Continent at large. Sincerest Condolences to your Family.

Kenneth Kaunda and Martin Luther King?(top) and with Nelson Mandela (bottom)

President Kenneth Kaunda, you have departed from planet earth with a rare record in human endeavour. On top of it all, you were one of the last of the generation of African leaders who fought for and won Africa’s independence. In the 1950s, you were a key leader in what was then Northern Rhodesia’s independence movement from Britain. You became president of Zambia following independence in 1964. But your struggles for African dignity and independence did not end there. You became a strong supporter of efforts to end apartheid in South Africa. You generously provided South Africa’s liberation movement led by the African National Congress (ANC) material support. Crucially, availed the Zambian territory from which the ANC organized its struggle to subsequently free their country from Apartheid. You were also a leading supporter of liberation movements in Mozambique and what is now Zimbabwe. You reached out to your African American brothers and sisters and supported their struggle for racial equality and justice.

President Kaunda, you graciously stood aside when you lost elections and moved on to lead other important national causes. This is rare on the African continent where rulers cling to power for life by any means necessary. Since leaving office, you largely kept out of politics and devoted much of your energy to fighting HIV/AIDS. In this fight you famously stated: “We fought colonialism. We must now use the same zeal to fight Aids, which threatens to wipe out Africa.” President Kenneth Kaunda, you are an African leader who will not be forgotten. Your leadership is a reminder of the continent’s history – good and bad – and we can learn from both. Goodbye to you President Kenneth Kaunda. Dignity and Honour. May your Dear Soul Rest in Eternal Peace.