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Championing Kaunda’s Legacy-100 YEARS celebrations for the Global Statesman

By Bernadette Deka Zulu-PhD Researcher-Public Enterprise

About just over a week ago, the Centennial celebrations to mark what could have been 100 years of existence of our forefather and first republican president, President Kenneth David Buchizya Kaunda (popularly known as KK).
President KK is remembered in many different ways across age groups and that is from pre-independence to post colonial era.
Suffice to praise, one common thing that history reminds us is that he led a forceful resilient revolution that transformed our land from the shackles of injustice and oppression to that of freedom, the freedom that we the younger generation, and the new generation are enjoying today.
Overall, and like many Zambians, I chose to remember our forefather as a global statesman on many fronts.
In one of the final official encounters with him-before his passing, I vividly remember him saying that “Pan Africanism is a key driver to re-branding Africa to harness its resources for sustainable development. He illustrated how there is need for Africa to progressively unite towards cooperative relations for an evidently shared future between Africa, and other continents.

SADC and Regional Unity
Looking back, we all come to an obvious realization that KK’s influence extended far beyond Zambia’s borders. History has recorded that in 1980, he hosted the first meeting of regional leaders, which led to the formation of the Southern African Development Co-ordination Conference (SADCC)—a precursor to today’s Southern African Development Community (SADC). His commitment to regional cooperation laid the groundwork for economic integration, infrastructure development, and collective progress.
In essence, KK’s part legacy borders around the much desired sustainable development in our African states; and if that is to be achieved, there is need to rebrand Africa, and re-establish that all relations are based on shared and equitable benefit for human and economic development. Is something that we can do? Yes we can.

Global Statesmanship
Amid the Cold War’s tensions, our KK navigated global complexities. He balanced the interests of superpowers while prioritizing Zambia’s sovereignty. His commitment to non-alignment allowed him to engage with both the East and the West, seeking partnerships that benefited his people, a very rare virtue that modern leaders need to balance acts in this bipolar world.

Celebrating Kaunda’s Legacy in
In his multi faceted legacy, President Kaunda was among other virtues the following:
An Anti-Colonial Leader: His fight for independence resonates as a beacon of hope for generations. His narrative remains part of Zambia’s educational curriculum and national heritage.
The Philosopher King: Coined as one of Africa’s last philosopher kings, Kaunda’s wisdom and vision continue to inspire leaders worldwide.
A Champion Lessons for Good Governance: Most parts and episodes of life taught us about nation-building, unity, and the pursuit of common welfare. As modern African states grapple with challenges, his principles remain relevant.

As the nation join together to celebrate Kenneth Kaunda’s life, I choose to remind my reader, on the importance of honoring KK’s commitment to humanity, justice, and progress. His legacy reminds us that leadership transcends borders, and our shared responsibility is to build a better Zambia, and a better world for all.

Author’s motivation:
Bernadette Deka Zulu’s dedication to public service and her alignment with positive ideals of Kenneth Kaunda contribute to the ongoing narrative of Zambia’s history. She is currently Chairing the Tiyende Pamodzi, a working foundation on the KDK Legacy of policies, personalities, and progressive humanism and good governance activism —a legacy that continues to shape the nation’s future. She has also founded Shaping Futures Zambia, aiming at creating platforms for young people involvement and mentorship on matters that matter.
Her commitment lies in training and empowering the next generation of leaders who aspire to uphold Kaunda’s positive impact on Zambia, as a worthwhile legacy for generations to follow🇿🇲


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