The late former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda has been described as a father figure, who also gave support to liberation movements across Southern Africa. Members of the former Umkhonto We Sizwe “June 16 Detachment” also paid their last respects after the Zambian High Commission in Pretoria opened its doors to South Africans.
The African National Congress (ANC) said it would host a number of memorial services for Kaunda, until the day of his funeral.
Affectionately known as the father of the African Revolution, Kaunda was the first President of Zambia from 1964 to 1991. He was at the forefront of the struggle for independence from British rule.
The ANC plans to honour him for his contribution to the fight against the apartheid rule in South Africa. “This is the beginning of the memorial service that we are going to hold as ANC and the people of South Africa together with the embassy of the people of Zambia,” says Gauteng ANC Secretary, Jacob Khawe.
South African students, who were exiled following the events of June 16 in 1976, were among those who paid their last respects.
“I left the country after the 1976 student uprising, I got an opportunity to go via Zambia. We got a warm welcome from the Zambian people thanks to the leadership and his compassion about our struggle. Later when I finished my training in Angola and Germany in 1977, I went back now coming to the country to fight,” says MK June 16 Detachment member, Mbulelo Musi.
The embassy complied with the COVID-19 lockdown regulations by hosting the memorial outdoors.
“We know very well that South Africa and Zambia have been brother and sister ever since and indeed we all know the role that our father Dr. Kaunda played here in the SADC region. He really contributed to the liberation of many countries and SA happens to be one of his beloved countries,” says Deputy High Commissioner, Maynard Julius Chanda.
The life and times of Dr. Kenneth Kaunda:
Kaunda will be buried at the presidential burial site in the capital, Lusaka, on July 7.