LUSAKA: Zambia’s founding father and former President Kenneth Kaunda has died in the capital Lusaka aged 97.
Kaunda was hospitalized last week with several reports pronouncing him dead earlier this week.
KK as he is popularly known, led Zambia into independence from Britain – ruling the country from 1964 until 1991.
He was also instrumental in assisting other Southern African countries gain independence from minority rule.
Kenneth was born at Lubwa Mission in Chinsali in then Northern Rhodesia. The youngest of eight children of a Church of Scotland minister, Kaunda was a teacher by training like his parents.
He was at the forefront of the struggle for independence, first joining the Northern Rhodesian African National Congress in 1951. Eight years later, he broke away from that party and founded the Zambian African National Congress, which was banned and resurfaced a few years later as the United National Independence Party – UNIP.
Kaunda became President of that party. In a landslide victory, he became Zambia’s first president at independence from Britain in 1964.
He ruled the country for the next 27 years. Kaunda was all his life a staunch Pan-Africanist.