Tributes are pouring in for the late former Zambian President, Kenneth Kaunda. The elderly statesman died aged 97 at a hospital in Lusaka.

Kaunda was Zambia’s first democratically elected president post independence from Britain. His family has expressed thanks for the prayers and support since his hospitalisation last week.

His son, Kachewe, says while others will remember his father for his role in liberating his own country as well as others – his legacy lies in his dedication to humanism.

He says Kaunda was not a materialistic person but a servant of the people.

“If you really wanted to upset him, give him money or or something for doing something that he felt like it was his duty as a human being to do. He never ever looked at what he did as something that at the end of the day should give him material rewards,” says Kachewe.

Kachewe’s interview with SABC News in the video below:

The government of Zimbabwe has expressed shock and deep sorrow at the statesman’s passing.

In a statement, President Emmerson Mnangagwa says his passing has robbed the Kaunda family, the Zambian people and Africa of an exemplary father, an astute politician and leader, “whose immense contribution to the liberation of Southern African countries from colonial rule is well documented by the international community.”

SA political parties weigh in

South Africa’s governing African National Congress (ANC) has described Kaunda’s passing as a sad moment for South Africa and the African continent.

Describing him as the giant of the country’s liberation struggle from the apartheid regime and the continent, the ANC says: “Dr Kaunda holds a special place in the hearts of our movement, our country and the South African people. He opened up Zambia and made it home and headquarters of the ANC for over 30 years. This was a demonstration of his belief that Zambia would not be free until sister countries in the continent that were still under the yoke of colonial oppression were free.”

Reactions to the passing of Dr Kaunda:

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has also described his passing as a loss to the continent.

Conveying the party’s condolences to the Kaunda family and the people of Zambia, IFP President Emeritus, Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi, says: “President Kaunda served not only his country but the cause of freedom and democracy in our country and across the continent. During apartheid, Zambia.”

Buthelezi says the late statesman will always be honoured for his unwavering courage and commitment to the cause of freedom.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) have lauded the role that Dr Kaunda played in educating his people. Party Deputy President, Floyd Shivambu, says Zambia opened its doors of learning to all Africans.

The party is said to have had just 100 graduates at the time of independence in 1964, which was accelerated rapidly with the building of many institutions.

“He played a very important role in educating his nation because he understood that in the world that he was leading he needed as many people as possible who have education who understand the dynamics of the world and to understand how to develop their communities. Also the education that Zambia was providing was not just for Zambia but so many people went to the University of Zambia so many professors in South Africa had relationship with the University of Zambia it was a home for all Africans,” says Shivambu.

Kaunda’s biography: