- Published on Thursday, 20 September 2012 15:11
- Written by Cliff Lule
- Category: news
- Hits: 277
Zambia is mourning the death of Betty Kaunda, wife of the country’s founding president, Kenneth Kaunda, who died early Wednesday in Zimbabwe while visiting her daughter.
The former first lady is viewed as the mother of the nation and the strength of her husband, who played a leading role during Africa’s liberation struggle. Kaunda was 84.
Zambia’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and Tourism, Given Lubinda, President Michael Sata and the people of Zambia are shocked and saddened by the death of the woman known by most Zambians as “Mama Kaunda.”
“The Zambian people and the government of Zambia received the information about the passing of the former first lady, Mama Betty Kaunda, with a great sense of shock because the last time Mama Betty Kaunda appeared in public in the company of her husband, she looked well and happy with her usual smile. Mrs. Betty Kaunda is considered by all Zambians as a mother of the nation, and the country at the moment is engulfed in a sense of grief,” he said.
Lubinda said Kaunda’s popularity even in death, and nearly 21 years since her husband left power, is symptomatic of the kind of humble life she led.
“People in Zambia remember very well the painful experience that Mrs. Kaunda underwent in 1990 after Frederick Chiluba became the second Republican president. President Kenneth Kaunda was humiliated, together with his family, and yet Madam Betty Kaunda handled everything with such a sense of responsibility and so much grace. Even after Dr. Kaunda was imprisoned by Frederick Chiluba during Christmas, Madam Betty Kaunda never said any word disparaging President Chiluba and his government,” he said.
He said the late former first lady is also being mourned by many Zambians because in life they consider her as a fountain of hope and inspiration.
Mrs. Kaunda’s husband, the first president of Zambia, contributed greatly towards the liberation of Zambia and the southern African region as a whole.