The founding president of what is now Zambia Kenneth Kaunda is dead.
Zambia – Kenneth Kaunda died today at the age of 97 in a military hospital in the capital Lusaka of pneumonia, as announced by his sons Panji and Kambarage Kaunda. In the middle of the third CoV wave on the African continent, he was admitted there just a few days ago.
The missionary son and trained teacher was previously considered one of the last survivors in the group of African independence heroes. As the first president of post-colonial Zambia, “Comrade KK”, as he was also called, tried to merge Christian and socialist values into a “Zambian humanism”.
Kaunda fought against colonialism
Like many African intellectuals of his time, Kaunda was committed to the fight against colonialism and spent several months in prison in what was then the British-ruled Northern Rhodesia.
After the election victory of the United National Independence Party, now led by his son Tilyenji, in 1964, he became president and enforced the independence of what is now Zambia. Repeatedly criticized for its autocratic leadership style, Kaunda was once an important supporter of the fight against South Africa’s racist apartheid government.
After retiring from politics, Kaunda devoted himself to the Foundation for AIDS Orphans he founded in 2003 and also worked for the UN and the African Union. All over the African continent, many streets, buildings and even airports are named after him. Even in old age he repeatedly spoke out in public against injustice and the oppression of minorities.