Johannesburg: Zambia’s first president and champion of African independence Kenneth Kaunda has died at the age of 97, the country’s president Edgar Lungu announced on Facebook Thursday evening.
Recalling the contributions of Zambia’s first president and champion of African independence Kenneth Kaunda, the Nelson Mandela Foundation has said his life holds for reflection on how democracy should be measured and how it can be deepened.
Kaunda was admitted to a military hospital on Monday and he was being treated for pneumonia.
“We will not forget Kaunda’s contributions to the struggles against colonialism and apartheid, nor the lessons his life holds for reflection on how democracy should be measured and how it can be deepened,” the Nelson Mandela Foundation said in a statement.
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“Madiba (clan name by which Mandela is fondly remembered) first met Kaunda in 1962 during his travels through Africa to secure support for a nascent armed struggle in South Africa,” the statement said.
With support from Kaunda, the headquarters of the African National Congress (ANC) in exile were located in Lusaka for many years, resulting in Zambia facing the brunt of destabilisation by the white minority government of South Africa.
Kaunda was the first democratically elected president of Zambia after the country formerly known as Northern Rhodesia gained independence from Britain in 1964.
Kaunda remained an elder statesman of the continent until he took ill a few months ago.