Zambia’s founding President and liberation hero, Kenneth Kaunda, has died on Thursday, June 17, 2021, at the age of 97
Kaunda, who was the father of his country’s independence and led it for 27 years, had been admitted to the Maina Soko Medical Center, a military hospital in Lusaka, on Monday where authorities disclosed he was being treated for pneumonia, according to Reuters.
However, a Facebook post by his son Kambarage Kaunda announced the Zambian founding president’s death and asked for prayers for his father, who championed Africa’s struggles against apartheid and HIV/AIDS.
The Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, in a message on his Facebook page, said, “On behalf of the entire nation and on my own behalf, I pray that the entire Kaunda family is comforted as we mourn our first president and true African icon.’’
The Zambian authorities also declared 21 days of mourning for the liberation hero who ruled from 1964, after the southern African nation won its independence from Britain, until 1991.
Although he was rumoured to be treated for Covid-19, an aide of the former president denied such rumour and said he was rather treated for Pneumonia, which he said comes up regularly.
Despite the fact that Zambia’s copper-based economy performed poorly under his long stewardship, Kaunda will be remembered more for his role as an anti-colonial fighter who stood up to white minority-ruled South Africa.