The countries pay respect to the late founding president of Zambia, revered for helping various movements across the continent to fight colonialism.
African leaders have paid tribute to Zambia’s founding president Kenneth Kaunda, who died Thursday at the age of 97, declaring several days of mourning in their respective countries.
While in power, Kaunda welcomed many of the movements fighting for the independence or equality of blacks in other countries on the continent, addressing the rule of white minorities in countries such as Angola, Mozambique, Namibia. , South Africa and Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe.
Namibia’s President Hage Geingob said in a statement that Africa had lost “a giant of a man”.
“Kenneth Kaunda was a generous, affable and resolute leader who liberated our region from colonialism.”
Africa has lost a giant of a man. Kenneth Kaunda, ‘KK’ as we affectionately call him was generous, affable, especially determined to free our region from colonialism. We lost KK. But, Africans and Namibians are eternally grateful for their stellar contributions to freedom. RIP KK
– Hage G. Geingob (@hagegeingob) June 17, 2021
In appreciation of their contribution to their various struggles, some African countries have announced various periods of mourning on Friday and have lowered their national flags in the middle of nowhere.
South Africa will fly for 10 days, while Botswana, Namibia and Tanzania will pay their respects for seven days, their presidents have announced.
Zimbabwe will cry more than three days later.
“Father of African independence”
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa described Kaunda as a “revered father of African independence and unity”.
“Under his leadership, Zambia provided refuge, care and support to liberation fighters who had been forced to flee the countries of their birth,” Ramaphosa said.
“He stood by the people of South Africa at the time of our greatest need and was firm in his desire for the realization of our freedom. We will never be able to repay the debt of gratitude,” Ramaphosa added.
Kaunda had provided logistical assistance to several African liberation movements, including the African People’s Union of Zimbabwe (ZAPU) and the African National Union of Zimbabwe (ZANU) of Southern Rhodesia and the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa.
The ANC’s Freedom Radio was allowed to broadcast from Zambia’s capital, Lusaka, and it was under Kaunda’s protection that the ANC waged an armed struggle, following a diplomatic fight against apartheid.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame said in a tweet that “the commitment to the liberation of Africa will never be forgotten” by Kaunda.
“His leadership on the continent and the legacy of Pan-Africanism will live on for generations to come,” he said.
My condolences to the family of President Kenneth Kaunda and the people of Zambia. His commitment to the liberation of Africa will never be forgotten. His leadership on the continent and the legacy of Pan-Africanism will live on for generations to come.
– Paul Kagame (@PaulKagame) June 18, 2021
Ugandan opposition leader Bobi Wine said Kaunda was one of the “few surviving independence heroes” in Africa.
Kaunda ruled Zambia for 27 years, taking the helm after the country gained independence from Britain in October 1964.
“For our founding father, it was not enough for his country Zambia to be liberated when the region and the African continent were linked in the chains of colonialism and apartheid,” President Edgar Long said Friday at the Kaunda house in Lusaka.
“He fought to seek freedom for humanity,” Lungu said.
Funeral plans are yet to be announced, but his native country is witnessing 21 days of national mourning, with flags flying at half-mast and all entertainment being banned.
Upon retirement, Kaunda became a respected voice in the continent’s experience, from conflict mediation to her anti-AIDS campaign after the disease killed one of her children.
“He was brave, compassionate and tireless in confronting HIV-related stigma and discrimination,” said UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima.