Published on : 18/06/2021 – 23:35
Zambia has declared 21-day national mourning following the death of independence father Kenneth Kaunda on Thursday at the age of 97. And tributes follow one another from, in particular, southern Africa.
Like Zambia, South Africa has declared a period of national mourning: ten days with immediate effect in remembrance, said Cyril Ramaphosa, of Kenneth Kaunda, this “ great leader ” who ” stood with the South African people when we needed them most », « Zambia provided refuge, care and support for freedom fighters forced to flee their country of origin », Recalled the South African president.
Seven days of national mourning have been ordered in Botswana in honor, believes its president, of ” an iconic, altruistic statesman », « rightly revered as the father of independence and African unity “, Whose leadership was” a source of inspiration and resilience “. Kenneth Kaunda was ” determined to liberate our region from colonialism », Tweeted the President of Namibia.
Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi says he has learned ” with immense sorrow, the death of Kenneth Kaunda, the father of independence “. His Rwandan counterpart Paul Kagame writes in his condolences that ” Kenneth Kaunda’s commitment to the liberation of Africa will never be forgotten and that his Pan-Africanist heritage will live on for generations ».
For his part, “ SADC, Southern African Development Community, mourns Zambian President, one of the last pioneers of independence in Africa “. Finally, the African Union considers that “ Africa has lost one of its best sons ».
Teacher at the University of Kinshasa and director of studies at EHESS in Paris, historian Elikia Mbokolo recalls how Kenneth Kaunda had an original place among the fathers of African independence.
Kenneth Kaunda is the last of the giants. He belongs to that generation who gave Africa its fathers, sometimes grandfathers […] Less visible than his companions, much more discreet, of a very, very strong character when it came to politics, but at the same time, easy-going, easy to hang out with. One of those English-speaking intellectuals who are modest and reserve rather rare among us French-speakers […] I met him once or twice […] Kaunda was rather curvy, so that when he raised his voice, and said “no I won’t do that”, he was listened to. […]