Zambia’s first Republican President, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda has passed away at age 97, as Kambarange Kaunda – his son – has confirmed.
“I’m sad to inform, we have lost “Mzee”. Let’s pray for him…” Kambarange said.
The former President and charismatic leader had been admitted to the Maina Soko Military hospital earlier this week.
Dr. Kenneth Kaunda was the first President of Zambia, serving from 1964 to 1991, having played a pivotal role in Zambia’s fight for independence from British rule. He was deemed as one of the leaders hailed as the founding fathers of a ‘new Africa’, as African nations began breaking off from their colonial rulers to become independent sovereignties.
He quickly rose through the ranks and became the head of the United National Independence Party (UNIP) to become the first President of Independent Zambia, at the age of 40.
An accomplished guitar player and music lover, Dr. Kaunda would often hold meetings and sing to his audiences, sometimes a patriotic song, other times a love song dedicated to his late wife, Betty.
One of these songs is “Tiyende Pamodzi nimu ntima umo”, a call for unity and signature tune which Dr. Kenneth Kaunda used to rally support for the liberation of Southern Africa.
May he rest in peace!