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Former President Thabo Mbeki has described Zambia’s late former President, Kenneth Kaunda, as one of the architects of South Africa’s democracy.
Mbeki was reminiscing on the immense contribution Kaunda and his country afforded the African National Congress (ANC) and its freedom fighters.
When the ANC was banned by the oppressive apartheid regime, Kaunda allowed the party to have its headquarters in the Zambian capital Lusaka.
Kaunda died on Thursday from pneumonia.
Mbeki says ‘KK’ as he was affectionately known, was dedicated to the country’s liberation that he would even engage the apartheid leaders in hopes of reaching an amicable solution.
Thabo Mbeki reflects on the life and times of ‘KK’:
SACP describes Kaunda as an exemplary leader
The South African Communist Party (SACP) first deputy general-secretary Solly Mapaila has described Kaunda as an exemplary person to leaders as well as ordinary people.
Mapaila says Kaunda was a foundation of wisdom for many leaders on the continent.
“He played an extremely critical role and remained a counsellor to many leaders on the continent. He remained a pillar of an example about how he left office, such a hero of our movement. When he was removed through democratic elections in Zambia, he acceded to the demands of the people and continued to provide counsel.”
“The people continued to see him as a father figure of the Zambian liberation and a symbol of the Zambian liberation. He represented a special generation of our liberation leaders on the African continent,” adds Mapaila.
Pallo Jordan pays tribute to Kaunda
ANC veteran Pallo Jordan, who spent time in exile in Zambia where the ANC was headquartered during apartheid, says Kaunda was a thinker and a unifier.
Jordan explains how the late statesman sought to bring Zambians together after the country’s independence in October 1964.
“Kaunda wanted to rally the Zambian people around what he thought was a philosophy to guide their movement and the country during its independence. He used to refer to this as humanism which he distinguished from capitalism and from communism about which he said embraced socialist principles. I think one of the reasons he put this forward was to have a unifying ideology for his nation,” explains Jordan.
Reactions to the passing of ‘KK’
Zambian President, Edgar Lungu, has declared 21 days of national mourning for his country following the death of Kaunda.